India made notable changes to their playing XI in the first Test against West Indies in Dominica. Young batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal made his Test debut, opening the innings alongside captain Rohit Sharma, while wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan also earned his first Test cap. In a surprising move, Shubman Gill shifted to the number three position, replacing Cheteshwar Pujara, who was not part of the Caribbean tour.
Gill expressed his desire to bat at number three, a position where he has had considerable experience in domestic cricket. The changes in the batting order have raised eyebrows and sparked discussions among experts. Aakash Chopra, former India opener, noted the unusual nature of a player requesting a specific batting position in Indian cricket, but believes it could prove beneficial for the team.
“Shubman Gill told the team management that he wanted to play at number three. It’s a very interesting thing because you don’t usually hear such requests in Indian cricket. Players don’t usually make such demands, nor are they granted that luxury. But the positive aspect is that Yashasvi Jaiswal can now open the innings,” said Aakash Chopra on his YouTube channel.
Chopra recalled his prediction from a couple of years ago when Gill made his Test debut in Australia, stating that he believed Gill might eventually bat down the order. He emphasized that opening the batting is one of the toughest jobs in Test cricket, particularly away from home. Chopra also highlighted that the number four position is typically occupied by a settled and experienced batsman, avoiding the risk of batting with the tail.
Regarding Gill’s shift to number three, Aakash Chopra stated, “I’m not surprised. I tweeted in 2020 that he would have a long career for India, but in a few years’ time, you would see him batting in the middle. Now, he has expressed that wish himself.”
Meanwhile, West Indies’ decision to bat first backfired as India’s bowlers dominated, bowling them out for a mere 150 runs. The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja accounted for eight wickets, with Ashwin achieving a five-wicket haul and surpassing 700 international wickets. In response, Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal formed an unbeaten partnership of 80 runs, leading India to end the day at 70 runs behind without losing a wicket.