India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour has put his weight behind under-firing Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Both of these veteran batters have not been at their best in the recent past and their place in the Test team has been questionable. Ajinkya Rahane looked in good touch in the first innings of the opening Test match against South Africa as he scored 48 runs at SuperSport, Centurion.
However, he could only score a little cameo of 20 runs off 23 balls in the second essay as he played a half-heart hook shot. On the other hand, Pujara was dismissed for a golden duck in the first dig while he could only score 16 runs in the second innings despite getting a reprieve when he was on four.
Since January 2019, Pujara has amassed 1356 runs in 26 Test matches at a paltry average of 31.53, including his last Test hundred of 193 runs which came against Australia at Sydney.
Rathour added that both of these batters are working hard on their game and they have shown decent form in the practice sessions but they haven’t been able to come up with consistent performances.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the fourth day’s play, Rathour asserted: “As far as Pujara and Rahane are concerned, they are trying their best, they are giving their best. Rahane was in really good touch but unfortunately, he got out, so has Pujara.”
“Pujara in past has played some important innings for us, you see these are challenging conditions, not many people have scored runs here. We need to be patient as long as they are trying their best, giving their best as coaching unit we are fine. Are we getting impatient? Not at this stage, I think.”
In fact, Pujara and Rahane haven’t been at their best in the last two years and a lot of cricket boffins reckon that it is time to give opportunities to players like Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, who are waiting in the wings.
Meanwhile, India is in a dominating position in the first Test match as they need another six wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series. On the other hand, South Africa needs another 211 runs to win the opening Test but rain is forecasted on the final day’s play.