Pujara and Rahane have been flops for a long time. They could not make runs in most of the matches except a few innings. Hanuma Bihari and Shreyas Iyer can replace them and play in third and fifth place in the test batting line-up.
Pujara and Rahane: Background
The Indian team got off to a great start by winning the first Test of a three-Test series against South Africa. The fans of Indian cricket thought, that maybe this time Team India would be able to win the first Test series on South African soil. But that did not happen. And the team lost the next two matches. Virat Kohli had to lose the series 2-1. After the series loss, the performance of many players is under question.
The two-Test series between India and Sri Lanka will start on February 25 in Bangalore. There will be some changes in the playing eleven in the series. Rohit Sharma will return to the team and Pujara and Rahane may have to drop to give young players a chance in such a situation.
Pujara and Rahane: What Sunil Gavaskar thinks?
In such a situation, Pujara and Rahane have to be left out to give a chance to the young players. According to Sunil Gavaskar, Hanuma Bihari and Shreyas Iyer could replace them and play in third and fifth place of the batting line-up.
In the recent past Test series against South Africa, two experienced players could not score runs when the team required. Ajinkya Rahane has scored 137 runs in 6 innings, and Cheteshwar Pujara has scored only 124 runs in 6 innings on this tour. Both the batter have scored a one-half century each in this series. But for Pujara and Rahane, these figures are not good at all. They had not delivered when the situation demanded.
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That is why Sunil Gavaskar believes that both the players will lose their place in the upcoming Sri Lanka Test.
Sunil Gavaskar said, ‘I think not only Ajinkya Rahane will be out of the team, but Cheteshwar Pujara is also going to be dropped. There is Shreyas Iyer. He got a chance in the Test series against New Zealand and scored a great century. He ran well throughout the series, so I think there will be two slots in the playing eleven.’
In the last few years, India has had unimaginable success in Tests at home and abroad. However, India has been suffering from batting failure for a long time. The collapse of the middle order has repeatedly come to the fore.
Kohli has not been in the run for the last two years.
The batting performance of Pujara and Rahane gave lots of headaches to the team management. Both have made it a habit to fail consistently. The numbers are saying that. In the year 2020, Rahene had played four test matches. In eight innings, he had scored 272 runs with an average of 38.86.
The downfall started from there. In 2021, he played 13 tests and 23 innings. Last year he scored only 479 runs with an average of 20.83. This year, team India played two test matches still now. Rahane had scored 68 runs with an average of 17 only.
On the other hand, in test matches Pujara bats at number three for team India. Number three is an important position for any team playing test cricket. But for the last couple of years, Pujara is also not giving any confidence to the batting line-up.
In 2020, Pujara played four tests. In eight innings, he scored only 163 runs with an average of 20.38. Last year, he played 14 test matches. In 26 innings, he had scored 702 runs with an average of 28.08. This year, he played both matches in South Africa. Pujara scored 108 runs with an average of 27.00.
Getting out without scoring any big runs innings was continued. In the South Africa series, the tradition continued. So, the talks on Pujara and Rahane have resumed.
Pujara and Rahane: Change in team management
A month back, Rahane was the vice-captain of team India for test matches. He captained the team against New Zealand in the last home series. But the Kohli era is coming to an end in Team India was a foregone conclusion. He is not the captain of the test team anymore.
In such an unfavourable atmosphere, Kohli has not scored runs for a long time. In the first innings of the third Test of the Proteas tour, he made 79 runs but suffered off-form in the rest of the innings. He has not scored a single century in the last 30 innings of international cricket.
Besides that, King Kohli was virtually alone after Robi Shastri resigned from the post of head coach of Team India.
What new test captain and coach Rahul Dravid will plan and think no one knows. How much support Pujara and Rahane will get from the new team management that is also unknown to everyone? So the future of Pujara and Rahane is uncertain in team India.
Pujara and Rahane: What Harbhajan Singh thinks?
Not only Pujara and Rahane, but Harbhajan Singh also mentioned the name of opening batter Mayank Agarwal. Agarwal also had a poor performance in the test series.
Mayank Agarwal has scored only 135 runs in six innings at an average of 22.50. In that series, only a half-century came from his bat. After doing well in the first match, Agarwal failed to score big. Get out, in the same way, one after the other. That is why Harbhajan said that Prithviraj Shaw and Shubhaman Gill will get a chance in the next series instead of Mayank Agarwal. He thinks Mayank did not take advantage of the opportunity. Bhajji suggested that the team management may look into the two openers in the series against Sri Lanka.
Harbhajan said on his YouTube channel, ‘Mayank Agarwal got six innings but could not take advantage of the opportunity. It indicates that a new player could come. Neither Shubhaman Gill nor Prithvi Shaw can be seen. Six innings are enough for a player to prove himself. Mayank is a good player I support. But since he has not scored enough, I do not know what will happen next.’