The fact that India were unable to land the sucker punch on New Zealand, which led to the first Test between the two teams ending in a draw has opened the floodgates to a debate regarding India’s team composition for the second and final Test of the series starting in Friday at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
In the Kanpur Test, there were certain players, whose performance was not up to the mark, including that of Ishant Sharma and captain Ajinkya Rahane. While Ishant went wicketless, Rahane’s string of unimpressive scores continued with 35 and 4 in the two innings.
With Virat Kohli set to return for the Mumbai Test, one change in the batting order is certain, but who makes way for the captain remains to be seen, Surely, Shreyas Iyer cannot be that guy, given how his century in the first innings and a fifty in the second of the Kanpur were instrumental in helping India save the blushes. Hence, the axe is likely to fall on either Rahane or Cheteshwar Pujara. If former India all-rounder Madan Lal is to be believed, the only player whom Kohli can replace in the XI is Rahane.
“I don’t think so,” said Lal on Sports Tak when asked of Rahane will be part of India’s Playing XI for Mumbai Test. “Shreyas Iyer scored valuable runs in both innings, and then Pujara is a batter who has scored runs. He may have not scored big hundreds but Pujara has stayed at the wicket and scored runs. The same cannot be said about Rahane though. So I feel that if you are to make a change, there is only one person whose place Virat can take, which is Ajinkya Rahane.”
Rahane has been battling indifferent form for a while now. Following his match-winning century against Australia in the MCG Test last year, Rahane has registered only two half-century in 12 matches. He averaged an underwhelming 18.66 in the home series against England and 15.57 in the four Test he played in England in August-September.