India captain Virat Kohli has come out in support of under-fire batter and Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and said that no decisions on his future will be made by listening to the opinions of outside people. Rahane missed the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai due to an injury.
He had led India in the first Test in Kanpur in Virat Kohli’s place as the Delhiite was rested for the T20I series and the first Test against the Kiwis. The New Zealand team managed to eke out a draw in Kanpur and Ajinkya Rahane’s decision to declare the innings a bit late on day four in that Test came under criticism.
However, it has been his form with the bat over the last couple of years that have been in focus. Rahane has around 700 runs in Tests since 2020 including just one century and a couple of fifties. He is without a Test hundred since the Melbourne Test against Australia in the 2020-21 series and last scored a half-century against England.
“I Cannot Judge Ajinkya Rahane’s Form. I Think No One Can Judge It: Virat Kohli
With Rahane scoring just 35 and 4 in the first Test in Kanpur and his method of dismissal being the same, critics have been baying for his blood as the squad for the upcoming three-match Test series against South Africa in the rainbow nation is to be announced soon.
Kohli made it clear that no one can judge Rahane’s form and the Team needs to back players if they are going through a tough phase.
“I cannot judge Ajinkya’s form. I think no one can judge it. The individual knows the areas of the game he needs to work hard. We need to back players who have come up with impact performances for us in the past under tough situations in key Test matches,” said Kohli in the press conference after India’s win over New Zealand.
“If there is some pressure on an individual and people start creating an environment wherein everyone is asking “what will happen next?”, we don’t entertain that as a Team. We cannot expect that balance outside. The same people who praise certain players want them out of the team after two months,” he added.
Kohli, who himself is under a bit of pressure, not having scored a century since November 2019, said that the team has never made a decision by listening to outside pressure and won’t start doing so now.
“We have never reacted like that and we never will because we know the amount of hard work and effort that goes into it. We will support him, whether it is Ajinkya or someone else. We won’t make a decision based on the atmosphere outside,” said Kohli.
The 372-run victory over New Zealand also means India sealed the two-match series 1-0, and now Kohli’s side will head to South Africa for three Tests and three ODIs, beginning December 26.