Ajinkya Rahane’s exclusion from the playing eleven for the recently-concluded first Test has probably dominated the headlines more than India’s humiliating 72-run defeat against South Africa.
Rahane has been one of India’s best performers in overseas Tests in recent times. While he averages a modest 36.88 at home, it soars up to more than 53 when he plays outside India. Six of his nine Test centuries have come outside India, as he has amassed 1817 runs in 24 overseas Tests. However, Rahane paid the price his poor performance in the series against Sri Lanka and had to make way for Rohit Sharma.
But as expected, his omission from the playing eleven for the Cape Town Test was widely criticised and the criticism only elevated after India suffered two batting collapses in the game and ended up losing the game. Chasing 208, India lost wickets at regular intervals and were all out for just 135. Kohli & Co. were looking set for a embarrassing total in the first innings too after being reduced to 92 for 7 before Hardik Pandya’s 93-run knock helped them post a respectable 209.
With criticism coming in from all quarters on Rahane’s exclusion, former India batsman Pravin Amre has also expressed his surprise over the team-management’s decision to drop its vice-captain for the tough game. Amre said Rahane should have been backed by Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri for a rare failure.
“I think this is the time when Rahane needed Kohli and Shastri’s backing because he had just one bad series against Sri Lanka and that too on Indian soil. When he was dropped from the ODI team after winning the Man of the Series award in the West Indies, there was no problem because he was filling in for the first team players,” he said.
“He was expected to make way once they returned to the team. But to drop the vice-captain of the Test team in the first Test of what is deemed as the start of the real test for Team India over the next 18 months was anything but shocking,” added Amre who is also the personal coach of Rahane.
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