Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that it’s the end of the road for Ajinkya Rahane in Test cricket after the former India vice-captain was dismissed cheaply yet again in the ongoing South Africa series.
Going for a tame poke against an absolute pearler from Kagiso Rabada, Rahane gloved one behind to the wicketkeeper to walk back for just one off 9. With the dismissal in the second innings of the deciding Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Thursday, Rahane ended the series with just 136 runs in six innings, averaging 22.67, which does include that fifty he scored in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test.
Manjrekar feels that Rahane has done nothing much to prove his place in the playing XI and that he should go back to playing Ranji cricket in a bid to find his mojo.
“It’s (his dismissal) a combination of a good delivery and Ajinkya Rahane’s form. He needs to go back and play first-class cricket and hopefully get his mojo back. I would not give Rahane another innings. Pujara has a stronger case in my book. Nothing about Rahane in the last 3-4 years gives me hope that he is coming back into form. There have been glimmers when he got a hundred in Melbourne. But, apart from that, nothing much,” he told ESPNCricinfo.
This is the fifth time since 2020 where Rahane has averaged below 25 in a bilateral Test series, the other being – 2020 series in New Zealand, both the England series last year and the home contest against the BlackCaps.
Former South African cricketer Daryll Cullinan, who was of the discussion, admitted that opener Mayank Agarwal joins Rahane in the list of players who could possibly face the axe ahead of the next Test series, which will be played at home in February against Sri Lanka.
“I am not convinced about (Mayank) Agarwal. They are the two (facing the axe), if I was Rahul Dravid, looking at batsmen to play abroad. If he’s honest with himself, he might be thinking it’s the end of the road (for Rahane). There’s some young exciting talent which now deserves a run,” he said.