Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan is surprised by India’s great performance despite senior players have been underperforming.
South Africa made a sturdy comeback on the opening day of the second Test from their 113-run defeat to India in Centurion.
South African pacer Duanne Olivier paired with Kagiso Rabada to share the new-ball duties and together the duo alongside Marco Jansen skittled down the visitors for a meagre score of 202.
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting average has been disappointing for the last three years: Irfan Pathan
Despite stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s well-composed knock of 50 runs from 133 balls, the Proteas were successful in scripting India’s downfall as Jansen (4/31), Rabada (3/64) and Olivier (3/64) ran through their batting line-up.
Senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dismissed on successive deliveries by Olivier in the 24th over of India’s innings.
Pujara lobbed a catch to Temba Bavuma who came jogging in from gully to send the batter for three, the very next ball Rahane feathered a wide delivery pitched outside off-stump by Olivier. The ball went safely in hands of Keegan Petersen at the third slip.
Irfan Pathan said that both Rahane and Pujara have been disappointing with their batting performance over the last few years.
“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,” Irfan said 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,” he added.
Surprising that India is still doing well despite Virat Kohli not scoring runs: Irfan Pathan
Apart from Rahane and Pujara, even regular skipper Virat Kohli hasn’t met the expectations of 23.77 in the last couple of years. He is yet to reach a three-digit score for more than two years since his 136 against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
Pathan said it is amusing to watch India perform consistently despite their key players haven’t scored enough. The former Indian all-rounder also alerted Rahane and Pujara that young players are waiting for their chance and can replace them.
“Surprising that India is still doing well despite Virat Kohli not scoring runs, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the same boat,” Pathan added.
“They need to start performing consistently because guys are waiting in the wings. You could say that (time running out for Rahane and Pujara) because a guy (Shreyas Iyer) who scored a hundred (on his debut) is waiting,” he added.
India are leading the three-match Test series 1-0 after their 113-run clinical win against South Africa in Centurion.