Former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan believes there is more pressure on Cheteshwar Pujara than Ajinkya Rahane.
Both of these veteran batters are under the pump for their poor run of form in the recent past and they have failed to deliver the goods for the team in the last two years.
With full-time skipper Virat Kohli making a comeback into the team for the second Test match against New Zealand, there are some expected changes to the playing XI as Shreyas Iyer had scored a fine century in his debut Test match.
Rahane has scored 687 runs in his last 30 Test innings at an average of less than 24 and has failed to get going with the bat. On the other hand, Cheteshwar Pujara has failed to score a century in the last 40 Test innings and hasn’t been at his best.
Zaheer believes if India decides to drop an opener to get Virat Kohli back into the playing XI then Cheteshwar Pujara could be asked to open the innings.
While speaking on Cricbuzz, the 43-year-old said: “The middle-order headache for this Test has come after Iyer’s fantastic debut performance. Iyer made good use of his opportunity. Virat Kohli is sure to come in, so there needs to be space made in the middle-order.
“I think there is a bit more pressure on Pujara and that is not entirely performance-based. Have seen in previous instances that often an opener gets dropped. They might go in a direction and ask whether Pujara can open in these conditions, but there is no denying that there needs to be some shuffling.”
Zaheer reckons Shreyas Iyer should definitely play in Mumbai as he proved his mettle in Kanpur and either one of the openers should be dropped or one between Pujara and Rahane should be ignored for the second Test.
“Iyer should definitely play, there is absolutely no question about it. They either have to drop an opener or drop either one of Pujara or Rahane.”
Zaheer feels Mohammed Siraj can come into the team as he has delivered consistent performances. The former seamer feels there won’t be many changes to the bowling unit.
“I don’t think determining the bowling attack would be a difficult decision. Siraj has been a mainstay now with good consistent performances.
“If India decides to play 3 seamers then Axar Patel will be the bowler who will have to make way. But pitches in India always have some turn, on offer after Day 3, so don’t think there will be too many changes in the bowling combination.”