New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Indian skipper Virat Kohli will return to India after playing first test of Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia later this year. Kohli has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI and will be missing the remaining three tests of the series to be at the birth of his first child. 

In an blog for ESPNCricinfo, former Australian cricketer Ian Chappell has said that Kohli's absence will create a big hole in India's batting line up and provide an opportunity for talented young players to make a name for themselves. Similar views have been voiced by fans and cricket fraternity alike. Here are five player we believe can replace Kohli at number 4 batting position.  

KL Rahul

KL Rahul is the most likely candidate to hold fort at number 4 in the absence of Virat Kohli. Rahul is returning to the international cricket after an exceptional IPL season, where he scored 670 runs in 14 matches at an average of 55.83. He was awarded India's vice captaincy in the limited over cricket and will be eager to prove his worth. In 36 tests, Rahul has scored 2006 runs at an average of 34.59. He has five centuries and 11 half centuries to his name.  

Hanuma Vihari

With eyes on the Australian tour, Vihari practised in the nets at his hometown after being overlooked by Indian Premier League franchises. Like Pujara, Vihari is mainly regarded as a test match specialist In 2019, he had emerged as a strong contender for the middle spot after a successful tour of West Indies. 

Rohit Sharma

Sharma's experience will come handy at number 4 in a situation where openers and Chiteshwar Pujara fall early. The hitman has scored 2141 runs in 32 test matches at an average of 46.54. With Sharma at number 4, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal can open the innings for India.  

Shubman Gill 

With an average of 73.55, Gill has proved his worth in the first class cricket and will be eager to fix a spot in India's playing XI. Gill shot into fame with the 2018 Under 19 world cup, and has had two good IPL seasons. He has played two ODIs for India, though failed to capitalise on both the occasions. Nevertheless, Gill will be a likely replacement of Virat Kohli at number 4 owing to his impressive performance in the first class and recently concluded IPL. 

Rishabh Pant

in 2019, Pant became the first wicket-keeper to score a century against Australia in test matches. Since then, however, he has had a poor run in both international and domestic cricket. The availability of Wriddhiman Saha keeps Pant's chances to make it to playing XI Grim, but in the absence of Virat Kohli, the management can play both the players, with Pant coming ahead of Saha at Number 4. 

Test Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj

Posted By: Lakshay Raja