Thursday, January 20, 2022

IND vs NZ 1st Test: Pujara and Rahane’s disappointing show continues, will India drop their captain or vice captain in 2nd Test?

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IND vs NZ 1st Test: End of Pujara and Rahane? – Team India selectors and team management including new head coach Rahul Dravid have a huge decision on their hands as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane continue to struggle to get among the runs. As Virat Kohli will return for the 2nd Test as the captain and Shreyas Iyer scoring a century, the captain and vice-captain for the Kanpur Test are under serious pressure to keep their place in the 2nd Test after yet another disappointing performance. Follow InsideSport.IN for all IND vs NZ LIVE updates.

Also Read: IND vs NZ LIVE Score: Day 4: Iyer, Ashwin resume crucial second session for India, IND 84/5 – Follow LIVE Updates

IND vs NZ 1st Test: Pujara and Rahane’s disappointing show continues, will India drop their captain or vice captain in 2nd Test?

Rahul Dravid has some huge decisions to make before India heads to their tour of South Africa with their batting mainstays Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane woefully out of form. After their failure in the first innings of the IND vs NZ 1st test at Kanpur, the onus was on the captain and vice-captain to steer India towards a huge total and set an improbable target for New Zealand on Day 4. However, the veterans failed to make their mark yet again, raising questions on their place in the side, which have been persistent for over the past 12 months or so. 

Cheteshwar Pujara last scored a century against Australia in January 2019 and sought Rahul Dravid’s advice after his first-innings failure, but nothing changed for the Indian No.3, as he gloved a short ball to keeper Tom Blundell in the first session of Day 4. Pujara tried to be aggressive on Day 4 which signalled a change in approach but big runs seem far away from the man who has taken over the mantle from Rahul Dravid. 

Incidentally, Pujara’s century drought is the joint longest by a No.3 for India in Test cricket. It has now been 39 innings since the Saurashtra man last scored a hundred, equalling Ajit Wadekar’s unwanted record. In fact, this is the second time Pujara has suffered such a  drought with a period of 37 innings without a hundred played out between 2013 and 2016. The 33-year-old did well to bounce back then, but will have to do a lot more to keep his place in the side now. 

Most consecutive innings without a 100 at #3 (India)

39 A Wadekar (1968-74)
39 C Pujara (2019-21) *
37 C Pujara (2013-16)
25 D Vengsarkar (1979-82)

Also Read: IND vs NZ LIVE: Axar Patel puts up BIG-RECORD Breaking SHOW, takes 5th – 5 wicket haul in only 4 tests

IND vs NZ 1st Test: Pujara and Rahane’s disappointing show continue, will India drop their captain or vice captain?

And while Pujara has got starts, Rahane has simply failed to get going and was caught plumb in front by Ajaz Patel to trigger the collapse. With Wriddhiman Saha battling an injury, India needed their captain and vice-captain to step up, but their failure, that too in home conditions raises a big concern which the selectors will be keen to root out ahead of the South Africa tour. 

With Shreyas Iyer scoring a hundred on his Test debut, both Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are running out of chances to prove their worth to the side. The former, barring his century at MCG in the boxing day test last year, has been in abysmal form, averaging a lowly 19 in 2021. With Virat Kohli being available for the second Test in Mumbai, the team management will have to take the bold decision of dropping either of the two to accommodate the Indian captain in the playing XI. 

IND vs NZ 1st Test: Pujara and Rahane’s disappointing show continue, will India drop their captain or vice captain?

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