Sunil Gavaskar named player who should make way for Virat Kohli in the 3rd Test. Photograph:( AFP )
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar named Ajinkya Rahane in his playing XI for the upcoming third Test between India and South Africa.
Former India captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has backed Ajinkya Rahane to keep his spot in the playing XI in the upcoming third Test against South Africa at the Newlands in Cape Town. Rahane has been enduring a lean patch in the longest format for a while now and has failed to score runs consistently. He is under immense pressure to perform in order to save his spot in the Test side.
India n captain Virat Kohli, who had missed the second Test in Johannesburg due to a back spasm, is expected to make his comeback after recovering from the back issue. While many expect Rahane to make way for the skipper when he returns to the playing XI, considering the senior batter's poor form, Gavaskar wants Hanuma Vihari to be replaced and feels Rahane should continue being a part of the playing XI.
Rahane was dismissed for a duck in the first innings of the second Test against South Africa when Gavaskar had said the next innings was going to be his final shot at saving his Test career. The right-hander went on to notch up a solid 58-run-knock in the second innings while Vihari, who had missed the first Test, got scores of 20 and 40 not out in the two innings of the second Test.
Gavaskar said India's only change should be a replacement for fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, who picked up an injury. The batting legend wants the visitors to not tinker with the combination a lot and try to win the series-decider in Cape Town.
"Apart from the injury aspect about Siraj, I don't see any changes in the XI. This was pretty much the same team that won the first Test match. Obviously, when Kohli comes back Vihari will be the one to miss out. And if Siraj doesn't recover or the team management doesn't have enough confidence in him, because in a five-day Test match and on a day he is expected to deliver, but if he isn't being able to bowl for 15-20 overs owing to the hamstring then they will have him replace. Whether it will be Umesh Yadav or Ishant Sharma, but that is going to be the only concern as far as the Indian team is concerned," Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
The former India captain said both Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who have been facing the heat for their poor show with the bat, came out good in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test against the Proteas and should be backed considering their experience and what they have done for the team in the past.
“Already the team has backed them owing to their experience and what they have done for India in the past. And they did come good. You have these exciting young players waiting in the wings whom we are all wanting to see but as long as these senior players are playing and playing well and not getting out badly them I think we should stick with them and faith in them," Gavaskar said.