Mumbai: Opener KL Rahul's poor show with the bat could pave the way for Rohit Sharma's return to the Indian Test set-up when the selectors meet here on Thursday to decide the squad for the two-match series against South Africa next month.
White ball vice-captain Rohit, who couldn't make the cut in the playing XI against the West Indies, is expected to be tried out as an opener after Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane sealed slot Nos 5 and 6 in the batting order respectively. Rohit's last Test appearance for India was in the away series against Australia in 2018.
Cheteshwar Pujara, at No.3, and skipper Virat Kohli, at No.4, automatically pick themselves.
This has left head coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Kohli with only one option, to try an explosive player like Rohit at the top of the order, following the 'Virender Sehwag impact model'. Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, a prolific performer at the domestic and India A games, could be rewarded with a place in the side as a reserve opener, if the selection committee decides to drop Rahul.
The other openers in fray are Priyank Panchal of Gujarat and Shubman Gill of Punjab.
Rahul, considered a favourite of this team management, has scored 664 runs in his last 30 Test innings, with his only notable score -- 149 against England at the Oval last year --, coming in a dead fifth rubber.
With Mayank Agarwal assured of his place, the only bone of contention could be the opening slot where a 15-member squad could ensure both Rohit and Easwaran make it. In case they both make it, then they might feature in the India A side in the two-day practice game against South Africa in Vizianagaram before the first Test in Visakhapatnam on October 2.
Otherwise, the selection will remain pretty straightforward with only Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who isn't fully fit, likely to miss out. In that case, all-rounder Hardik Pandya could be back in the Test squad or else Navdeep Saini might come in as a back-up pacer.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Think-Tank will want Pandya to only concentrate on white ball cricket in the next 13 months keeping the World Cup in focus. Test matches in India normally feature one specialist keeper in the side but Wriddhiman Saha is very much in the scheme of things even though Rishabh Pant remains the top choice.
Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin will be the three spinners while Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma will be the three pacers. In case Shami is rested, then Umesh Yadav can come in.
Likely Squad: Openers: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma Middle order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari All-rounder: Hardik Pandya Wicketkeepers: Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha Pacers: Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami/Umesh Yadav Spinners: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav
In Contention: Abhimanyu Easwaran (3rd opener), Priyank Panchal (3rd opener), Navdeep Saini (reserve pacer), Kona Bharat (2nd keeper).
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New Delhi, Jan 25: Five people, including four minor students, were killed after two floors of an under-construction building housing a coaching class collapsed in Bhajanpura area in northeast Delhi on Saturday, fire officials said.
They said around 30 students, all minors, were attending classes at the coaching centre when the upper two floors of the four-storeyed building collapsed, trapping them under the debris.
The fourth floor of the building was under construction and did not have a roof, the officials said.
The Fire Department received a call around 4.30 pm, following which seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the officials said.
Thirteen people, including minor students, have been shifted to the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, they said, adding that Umesh Kashyap, the owner of the building, is also among the dead.
Condoling the death of the four students, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal said he has directed all concerned to provide all possible support for the speedy recovery of the injured.
"Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths including those of innocent children during the building collapse in Bhajanpura, East Delhi. May God give strength to their family and loved ones to deal with this tragedy," Baijal tweeted.
"Have directed all concerned to provide all possible support for the speedy recovery of the injured. Action will be taken against those found guilty of lapses which led to this tragic accident," he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the accident site, also expressed grief over the death of the four students in the incident.
"Visited site of Bhajanpura accident. Am pained by tragic death of 4 students and owner of the coaching institute. One illegal floor was being constructed which collapsed. Inquiry is being ordered. Guilty shall not be spared. Sending proposal for compensation to EC for approval," the chief minister tweeted.
Arif Sultan, the father of one of the deceased, identified as Farhan Sultan (6), said, "My son was studying on the second floor along with 10 to 15 other students. My daughter, who was in eighth standard called me and informed about the incident. I rushed to the spot and climbed the stairs. I took out my child by myself after around one-and-a-half hour. He was not breathing. We took him to the hospital where he was declared brought dead."
"The area has very narrow lanes. It is not possible for the fire brigade to come inside," he said.
Laxmi, the mother of deceased Krishna and injured Nitin, said, "My children were studying there from past six months. They should not have moved them to the third floor as we heard from the other locals that the construction material was there. I lost my son Krishna and Nitin is injured. He is admitted at the GTB hospital."
Sushil Sharma, who was among the first to reach the spot after the incident, said the locals entered the building through the roof of an adjoining building and started removing the students trapped under the debris.
He said his twin nieces studying in the same institute, both in class 10, preferred to study at home on Saturday.