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A case for India to play all three openers in Hyderabad?

KL Rahul punches with a high elbow Getty Images

Even as the presentation was in full flow, on only the third day in Rajkot, Mayank Agarwal was out in the nets, taking throwdowns. The 27-year-old pushed his weight back in line with a short ball and crunched it in the direction of cover. The sound of bat on ball was astonishing and for a moment you wondered if he wished he could have played it wearing whites instead of training gear.

The second and final Test of the series against West Indies starts on Friday and it is quite possible that Agarwal will get what he wants. At this point, India appear to be committed to the openers they've chosen in this squad. Only last week the captain Virat Kohli said: "We will give these guys enough space and chances to feel comfortable at that position. We want them to be comfortable about what they are doing."

And while all three are immensely talented, only one has been properly tested at the highest level, which isn't ideal, especially for a team just about a month out from a tour of Australia.

The advantage - if that's even the right word - is that conditions there shouldn't be tough to bat in. Statistically, it has been the best place to bat in over the last five years and the average patnership for the first wicket is north of 40. But if India have decided to continue with Agarwal, KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw as their openers, they need all three to get as much game time as possible. And there is only one Test between now and the first one in Adelaide. That Test is in Hyderabad, where all three could very well make the XI.

Agarwal is uncapped but with his weight of runs over the last year or so - he made over 1000 in first-class cricket in November 2017 alone - he deserves a game. India too need to see what they can get out of him at Test-match level.

Shaw became the youngest Indian to make a century on debut in Rajkot and his back-foot play suggests he might enjoy batting on pitches with pace and bounce. But one innings does not a player make, so India will need more information on their 18-year old upstart.

Rahul, by contrast, fell in the first over, continuing a sequence where he's been bowled or lbw in eight successive international innings. He's received some brutish deliveries in this stretch and while Shannon Gabriel's in Rajkot may not have been on the same level as, say, Sam Curran's at The Oval, it did seam in off a length, which meant the batsman had less chance of picking it, not least because it was delivered at over 140 kph.

Early on in England, Rahul kept falling into this trap possibly because he was preoccupied with the threat of the outswinger. Now it seems as if he's being caught in the crease, slow to move his feet. All of this usually happens at the start of his innings - a time when most batsmen are vulnerable but Rahul is especially so. He has been dismissed before his 25th delivery in 23 of his 49 Test innings. And if that stat has got into his head, it can do far more damage than any technical issue.

It seems worthwhile to note that his best innings in England - 149 at The Oval - came when he simply reacted to the ball, and his best innings in Test cricket so far - 90 against Australia on an up-and-down Bengaluru pitch last year - was the result of simple focus and quick footwork. Back then, he didn't seem like a batsman who was putting pressure on himself because he believed he was in form, and made he made nine fifties in one 11-innings stretch. He probably lacks that confidence right now, and only time in the middle can bring him that.

So who goes out then? Ajinkya Rahane? He's going through a lull himself and needs to get out of it before India have to travel again. Cheteshwar Pujara? He will no doubt be vital when they travel abroad, but he looked like India's most competent batsman next to Kohli in England and he reiterated that form in Rajkot, where he made 86 off only 130 balls. India can trust that his form won't fade.

What about Kohli? It won't be the worst decision; he sleepwalked to his 24th Test century at the SCA stadium and unless he fancies a 25th by the end of the week, he could very well take a break. Or could it be one of the bowlers? Having only four options to turn to in the dry Hyderabad heat doesn't really sound helpful. The team management has a difficult decision to make and we'll get to know all about it on the day before the Test, when India have promised to announce their XII.