On the eve of the third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India here, India skipper Rohit Sharma on Tuesday maintained the suspense over KL Rahul-Shubman Gill conundrum, saying that the former's recent removal as vice-captain doesn't indicate anything.
Rahul's performance in the last 10 Tests has been very underwhelming and despite the backing from head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma, it is evident that his spot in the playing XI for third Test is doubtful after he was removed as vice-captain recently.
However, the Indian skipper said that the recent development doesn't actually tell anything. So, it will be interesting to see whether Gill, who has been waiting patiently for his opportunity, gets a chance on Wednesday or not.
"I said it after the last game as well that players who are going through a tough time, anyone with potential, will be given enough time to prove themselves. And being vice-captain or not being vice-captain doesn't actually tell you anything.
At that point in time when he was the vice-captain, he was probably the senior-most (in the leadership group). His removal from vice-captaincy doesn't indicate anything," Rohit said in the pre-match press conference.
Asked if Gill, who was seen practising quite a bit in the build-up to the Test, was in the reckoning over Rahul, Rohit said it was normal to train and practice before any game.
"As far as Gill and KL Rahul are concerned, that is how they train and practice before any game. Today was an optional training session for the entire group. Whoever wanted to come they came.
Other guys like Surya, Ishan are also there. All 17-18 are in reckoning. It's not about Gill or someone else," he said. "As far as the playing 11 is concerned, we've not yet finalized on it yet.
I would like to do it at the toss, considering last-minute injuries can happen," he added. India's lower-order batters played a crucial role in their two Test wins over Australia.
All three all-rounders, Ravichandran Ashwin (60 runs), Ravindra Jadeja (96 runs) and Axar Patel (158 runs) have bailed India out of tricky situations in the series.
At the same time, apart from Rohit, who scored a brilliant 120 in Nagpur, no other recognized batter has been able to stamp his authority against Australia so far.
While lavishing praise on the lower-order, Rohit also backed the quality of his top-order batters. "Last game specifically, the position that we were in after being 130 (139) for seven odd, from there to get to 260 (262) was a very good effort from our lower-order.
Axar Patel, Jadeja and Ashwin bat in the lower order for India, but bat much higher for their Ranji state sides. Axar bats at five," the skipper said. "It doesn't matter if contributions come from top or lower-order.
It's the end result for the team that matters, for us we are in that state where we can create that depth with our batting. Yes, runs from the top-order haven't come as per our expectations, but what matters to us is the quality that they bring to the table.
With that quality, they are just one or two innings away from getting back in form and producing those big scores for us," he added.