Surprising that India is still doing well despite Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara's barren run: Pathan

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 04, 2022, 08:03 PM(IST)

India is doing well despite poor run from Kohli, Rahane, Pujara: Pathan Photograph:( AFP )

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Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan is surprised that Team India have been doing well despite low returns from Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

The second and penultimate Test between India and South Africa, at The Wanderers, Johannesburg, has been a pulsating affair so far. After winning the toss, the KL Rahul-led Indian team managed only a paltry 202 in 63.1 overs. In reply, SA started the second day's play at 35-1 before being all-out for 229 courtesy Shardul Thakur's splendid 7 for 61. Hence, the match is expected to go down the wire with the series scoreline currently in India's favour (1-0).

For the unversed, India are without regular captain Virat Kohli (due to upper back spasm) whereas the senior pros Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have continued to under-perform with the bat in the J'burg Test. The duo managed only 3 runs among themselves in the first essay as the pressure is riding on their shoulders to hold onto their respective Test slots. Nonetheless, despite no Kohli and hardly any contribution from Rahane and Pujara so far in the contest, the KL Rahul-led side remain in contest after conceding a lead of only 27 runs to the Proteas. This has been the case for India in the recent past as they have continued to perform in all cylinders in the purest format despite their big guns not being at their best.

In this regard, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan pointed out being surprised with India's good returns in red-ball format while slamming Pujara and Rahane for being far from their best.

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Irfan slammed Pujara and Rahane and told on Star Sports, "These two, we are talking about senior players here, they have played more than 60 Test matches and when you have played that amount of Test cricket for India, you need to average more than 40. And if you look at their averages in the last 3 years, it has been under 30 and that is highly disappointing."

“Ajinkya Rahane showed a lot of intent with the way he played in the first innings. His footwork was decisive and he looked positive. But here (in Johannesburg), both of them were disappointing,” he added.

Pathan asserted, "Surprising that India is still doing well despite Virat Kohli not scoring runs, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the same boat." He has cautioned Rahane and Pujara to start scoring as many batters are waiting in the pipeline. “They need to start performing consistently because guys are waiting in the wings."

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To back Pathan's claims, India have done exceedingly well in Tests in the recent past without their big guns coming to the party. India won the Australia Tests, Down Under, without Virat Kohli (winning the series finale without R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, etc.). Pujara and Rahane under-performed even in the England Tests, in the United Kingdom in mid-2021, but India gained an unassailable 2-1 lead in the incomplete series.

While the recent performances have been very good for the national side in Tests, the team would want their big names such as Kohli, Pujara and Rahane to also start scoring in full flow in the near future. 

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