Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels it's time that Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane gets his maiden Test cap in the fourth and final Test against Australia beginning in New Delhi on Friday.
"Rahane has sat out for too long. It's not healthy for a player's development. I think he should play and open the innings and (Cheteshwar) Pujara should stick to No 3," Ganguly said.
Rahane has been part of the India's Test squads for close to 16 months but has yet to receive his maiden cap.
Ganguly felt that Shikhar Dhawan's injury might just give Rahane the much-waited opening into the team.
Recalling Suresh Raina's celebrated debut against Sri Lanka in July 2010, Ganguly said: "Yuvraj Singh was unfit then as Raina got his maiden Test cap and scored 120 -- the last century on debut before Dhawan's knock in Mohali."
Dhawan, who hit a record-breaking 187 on his debut was ruled out for six weeks with a fracture to his left-hand as the selectors drafted in Raina, which was the only change to the squad for the last Test.
Ganguly further added that India were on course for an unprecedented 4-0 whitewash.
"I would not be surprised if the Aussies were handed a 4-0 defeat," Ganguly told a regional TV channel.
There might be a cloud of uncertainity over skipper Michael Clarke but Ganguly said, "In such times of crisis, Clarke is the right person to lead the side.
"I'm not sure about the extent of his injury but Clarke should play even if he's not fully fit."
With Indians playing non-stop cricket, Ganguly hoped that the players remain fit for the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
"It's tough for them as they have the IPL and immediately after that the Champions Trophy. I just hope that all are fit to play in England."