Tuesday, January 25, 2022

IND vs NZ 2nd Test: Will Pujara sacrifice his batting position for Rahane’s sake? Check what could be India’s opening combination in Mumbai

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

IND vs NZ 2nd Test: India’s opening conundrum – Skipper Virat Kohli’s return to the Playing XI has created a plethora of problems for Team India. After a century and half-century combo on Test debut, it is unlikely that head coach Rahul Dravid will drop Shreyas Iyer out of Playing XI. That creates a problem in the middle-order even though Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are both struggling. The only solution is: Pujara sacrifices his No 3 position and opts to open with Shubamn Gill. But will he sacrifice his No 3 spot? Follow India vs New Zealand Live Updates on InsideSport.IN.

After an unimpressive 1st Test, Mayank Agarwal is expected to be benched. That will see Virat Kohi coming in while also retaining Shreyas Iyer. But for that to happen, Cheteshwar Pujara will be asked to sacrifice his batting position. At No 3, Pujara has been India’s wall in the last few years but cracks have started appearing on the wall. Even though he has scored 6025 runs at an average of 45.64 in 138 innings at No 3, the last 12 months have not been ideal.

IND vs NZ 2nd Test: Will Pujara sacrifice his batting position for Rahane’s sake? Check what could be India’s opening combination in Mumbai

Also Read: IND vs NZ LIVE: Will Virat Kohli do a Karun Nair to Shreyas Iyer? Paras Mhambrey hints at leaving out Iyer

Cheteshwar Pujara could replace Mayank Agarwal as an opener for the 2nd Test in Mumbai

In the last 12 months, he has averaged just 28.08 with just six half-centuries and no century to his name. In fact, he has not scored a century in 1063 days. Similarly, Ajinkya Rahane has struggled too. In the last 12 months, he has averaged 24.66.

Even though bowling coach Paras Mhambrey hinted at a situation where Shreyas Iyer could be dropped like Karun Nair was after his 303, it is unlikely considering the 2nd Test will only be a stop-gap solution. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will return to the opening slots in the South Africa tour, the team management could give Cheteshwar Pujara another go as an opener, replacing Mayank Agarwal.

IND vs NZ 2nd Test: Will Pujara sacrifice his batting position for Rahane’s sake? Check what could be India’s opening combination in Mumbai

India Playing XI vs NZ 2nd Test: Selection headache for Rahul Dravid – who will make way for Virat Kohli in playing XI?

Despite disappointing first Test, Ajinkya Rahane is likely to be retained for the 2nd Test in Mumbai

 

IND vs NZ 2nd Test: Cheteshwar Pujara as an opener – is that possible?

  • It is very much possible and it will not be new.
  • Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 348 runs from six innings as a Test opener including a century and a couple of fifties.
  • Mayank Agarwal is likely to be axed after his innings of 13 and 17 against New Zealand at Kanpur as the team management wants to give both Pujara and Iyer more time.
  • Virat Kohli and Wriddhiman are other options to open for India. Saha has never opened for India but has played in the position for Bengal and in IPL. Virat Kohli has opened for his IPL franchise RCB and in T20Is for India.
  • Vice-Captain Ajinkya Rahane is under pressure to perform for the last 12 months. He scored just 35 and 4 runs in last two innings in Kanpur Test.
  • Considering Rahane will be playing at his home ground, Rahul Dravid is expected to give him another go before the all-important South Africa tour.
  • Rahane’s inclusion ahead of Mayank Agarwal, who played after a gap of 10 Tests, means Pujara will have to fill the role of an opening batsman.

IND vs NZ 2nd Test: Will Pujara sacrifice his batting position for Rahane’s sake? Check what could be India’s opening combination in Mumbai

Cheteshwar Pujara’s records as per batting position – Tests

Position Inns 100s 50s HS   Runs Avg S/R
Opening 6 1 2 145* 348 116.00 62.03
3 138 17 29 206* 6025 45.64 43.63
4 5 0 0 49 113 22.60 52.56
5 1 0 0 4 4 4.00 133.33
6 4 0 0 21 52 13.00 28.11
Overall 154 18 31 206* 6542 45.12 44.28

 

For more sports news and India vs New Zealand LIVE updates, follow us at InsideSport.IN

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -