Cricket
Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara could have been game-changers in South Africa

Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara could have been game-changers in South Africa

India vs South Africa: Both Rahane and Pujara had more than 10 innings each in South Africa, and their experience would have helped the visitors.

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara look like a thing of the past for the Indian team, but they might still be relevant, at least in foreign conditions, where our batsmen tend to struggle. Now, on Tuesday, Rohit Sharma-led Team India starts a fresh attempt to win a Test series in South Africa, but is it really possible without the backbone of the team’s red-ball stalwarts Rahane & Pujara?

Instead of debating the topic, a look at numbers would be a better approach. So, it is no secret that Indian batsmen have struggled in South Africa, so much so, that from the current squad, only two players have managed to score tons in the nation — Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul. In fact, all the Indian batters in SA have been rather poor, apart from Kohli, who enjoys an average of 51 there and had scored 286 runs in three Tests, the last time around.

The struggle is Real in South Africa

Skipper Rohit Sharma, has played four Tests in SA and has scored 123 runs overall, at an average of 15. His highest score is only 47. Talking about KL Rahul, having played five Tests in SA, he has only 256 runs at an average touch over 25. That even includes a ton and a fifty, which means, he has largely struggled in the nation. Now comes the all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. Jadeja in SA has played only one Test and averages 8. As for Ashwin, in six Tests he has 197 runs at an average of 17.90.

Pujara & Rahane Slightly Better in South Africa

South African conditions require a certain kind of waiting game that these two men had mastered. If we keep Kohli out of the comparison, they have one of the best numbers in SA. Rahane in 12 innings has 402 runs to his name, at an average of 36.54. Whereas Pujara has 535 runs in 10 Tests, with the highest of 153. Though his average is only 28, it still looks decent, considering India has a relatively inexperienced middle-order. Also, the duo have played more than 10 innings each in SA, which would have come as a major bonus for India.

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