Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has once again reiterated that KL Rahul and not Shikhar Dhawan should open the innings along with Murali Vijay in the upcoming Test series against England.
Time and again Ganguly has said that Rahul should be preferred over Dhawan in overseas conditions. And the southpaw did little to prove Ganguly wrong. He bagged a pair against Essex and lasted just four balls across two innings.
In the first innings, he had played a poor shot to be dismissed for a golden duck. The left-handed batsman had ended up edging an away going delivery to the wicketkeeper. In the second innings, he couldn’t account for the seam movement and was cleaned by Matthew Quinn. The latest dismissal has once again raised questions about his ability to handle the moving ball.
The failure has come on the back of his failure in South Africa. He had scored 16 and 16 in the first Test before being dropped for the series.
The poor outing against Essex is bound to reignite the debate on whether Rahul should replace Dhawan at the top of the order. Rahul impressed in the game, scoring 58 and 36 not out. Rahul also has a good record in overseas Tests.
And Ganguly believes India should go with Rahul.
“Dhawan’s history on overseas pitches hasn’t been very impressive. He goes overseas, fails to perform and gets dropped after a few Test matches. He has played amazing cricket in the subcontinent and recently scored a century against Afghanistan before lunch. Rahul, on the other hand, has scored a hundred in Australia, played well in South Africa and West Indies too. I like him technically and he has been successful overseas. I’ll be surprised if India choose not to open with Murali Vijay and Rahul in the first Test,” Ganguly told IndiaTV. 1
Another player who failed to impress in the warm-up game was Cheteshwar Pujara. However, Ganguly said India should stick him considering his past performances.
“Pujara is not in good form. He recently played county cricket and his average was just 13-14. However, in his last Test at the Wanderers, where India won the third Test, he scored a fifty. He has a century in South Africa to his name. He hasn’t been up to the mark in England, but has played better than Dhawan in countries like South Africa, West Indies and England,” said Ganguly.
The former India skipper also said that India should play Kuldeep Yadav and R Ashwin in the series-opener.
Here is Ganguly’s Playing XI:
KL Rahul; Murali Vijay; Cheteshwar Pujara; Virat Kohli; Ajinkya Rahane; Hardik Pandya; Dinesh Karthik; R Ashwin; Two fast bowlers and Kuldeep Yadav