Wednesday, May 25, 2022

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves’

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India Tour of SA: Pujara & Rahane to play domestic – India’s 1-2 Teest series loss to South Africa might have been overshadowed by Virat Kohli announcing his decision to step down as the Test captain but the selection committee is not happy with how it went down. Singling out two Test veterans in Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the selection committee is set to sit with coach Rahul Dravid to discuss a transition plan for the two. Follow IND vs SA Live Updates on InsideSport.IN.

Instead of ruling them out completely and shutting the door on their return, the selectors want them to find form. They will be asked to play in the domestic, get their forms back and then compete with the others to make a comeback.

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves’

“We will sit with Rahul and the next captain on the transition plan after the South Africa series. But the doors will not be closed for them. We will advise them to go back to domestic cricket and regain their form and then try to make a comeback,” a source close to the development told InsideSport.

Also Read: India New Test Captain: BCCI to officially name Rohit Sharma as new test captain, announcement COMING-UP after the South Africa tour

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves'

However, their return may not be soon. India will take on Sri Lanka in two-match Test series starting February 25. With Ranji Trophy 2022 postponed due to 3rd wave of Covid-19, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will not have any chance to regain their form or prove their worth. Even if the Ranji Trophy takes place in February, which is highly unlikely, the veteran duo won’t be able to complete their domestic assignments.

India Tour of SA: Pujara and Rahane’s dwindling numbers in Test

  • In the last 12 months, Cheteshwar Pujara has averaged just 24.08 in 14 matches.
  • He has no centuries since 2019 January.
  • Ajinkya Rahane has averaged just 20.00 in the last 12 months, playing 13 matches.
  • He has scored only three half-centuries with 10 single-digit scores.
  • Rahane and Pujara scored 136 and 124 runs each in the Test series against SA while India received 136 runs in extras.

Also Read: SA India 1st ODI LIVE: KL Rahul confirms he will open the innings, R Ashwin set for ODI comeback – Follow Live Updates

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves’

In their absence, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari will be competing for places. Since the England tour, Gill has been in team management’s plans to turn him into a middle-order batsman. He is expected to take Pujara’s place at No 3 in the Sri Lanka series while Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer will have to fight for the No 5 spot.

“The two have been great servants for Indian cricket and deserve another chance but will that be now, I don’t think so. Since the England tour, we have had a discussion regarding how to utilise Shubman and a role in the middle-order is where he fits in. Rahul had a chat with him during NZ series,” the source told InsideSport.

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves’

“For Shreyas and Hanuma, they will have to keep on performing whenever an opportunity opens up. Both are talented players and depending on conditions, they can be used,” he added.

As for the Test captain, Rohit Sharma is all set to take charge from the Sri Lanka series after Virat Kohli refused to lead the team one last time on his 100th Test in Bengaluru. However, many have raised questions on whether Rohit Sharma will be the right person to lead considering his recent injuries. He was ruled out of the South Africa tour with a hamstring injury. But the selectors aren’t worried about persistent injuries.

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves'
BCCI and selectors yet to discuss alternate options to Rohit Sharma captaincy in Test. Pant, KL and Ashwin are not in the running

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves’

Also Read: IND vs SA LIVE: Rassie van der Dussen claims Rishabh Pant’s wicket following spat was a massive moment in Test series

“Look, injuries are part and parcel of the sport. Players live with that. The rest Rohit got was helpful. He is close to 100% fitness and will be back for the West Indies series,” the source said.

But are the selectors keeping the door open for KL Rahul or Rishabh Pant to take over? The source said the selectors didn’t have any discussion regarding that. “Only if Rohit doesn’t want to take responsibility for all three formats, we will give it a thought. For now, he is a clear choice,” he added.

India Tour of SA: Selection Committee sources to InsideSport, ‘Pujara, Rahane will have to go back to DOMESTIC Cricket to prove themselves’

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