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    SA vs IND 2021: Ajinkya Rahane will find it difficult to get a place in the playing XI – Gautam Gambhir

    SA vs IND 2021: Ajinkya Rahane will find it difficult to get a place in the playing XI - Gautam Gambhir

    Cricket   |   December 13, 2021

    Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir reckons Ajinkya Rahane will find it difficult to get a place in the playing XI in the upcoming tour of South Africa.

    Rahane has been in poor form in the last two years and his place in the team is questionable in the Test series against the Proteas.

    On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer was able to grab his opportunity with both hands as he scored a fine century on his Test debut. Furthermore, he scored fifty in the second innings and became the first Indian player to score a hundred and a fifty on his Test debut. Iyer has been named in India’s Test squad for the series against South Africa and he is expected to get his chance.

    Meanwhile, Rahane has been horribly out of form in the last two years and he has scored 683 runs in the last 16 Test matches at an average of 24.39. Furthermore, Suryakumar Yadav and Hanuma Vihari have been waiting in the wings. Vihari had recently played for India A on the tour of South Africa and his experience of playing in those conditions will be vital.

    Gautam Gambhir said while talking on Star Sports, “Tough, that is what I can say because he is not a starter, to be honest. I feel Ajinkya Rahane will find it difficult to get a place in the playing XI.”

    “You have got Shreyas Iyer; it will be very difficult for India or the captain to drop him because of his recent performances. At the same time, Hanuma Vihari has done really well as well.”

    On the other hand, India’s former batting coach Sanjay Bangar added that Rahane should have been selected for the tour of South Africa as he has got experience under his belt but his place in the final XI will be doubtful.

    “Ajinkya Rahane has got a place for the South Africa tour, and he should have got picked as well because you will definitely need experience there. Whether he gets to play in the first Test match is a question mark and the first match that is played before the Test match is going to be critical.”

    Bangar feels it will be a toss-up for the team’s think tank between Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, as both of these veteran players are out of form.

    “Hanuma Vihari is already there; he has played for India A there and has scored runs as well. Shreyas got a chance at No.5 in the home series; he performed very well in his debut Test. All in all, I believe the team management will at least want to have one experienced middle-order player, whether it happens to be Pujara or Ajinkya, it all depends on the type of performances that they put in the practice match.”

    The first Test match between South Africa and India will be played at Centurion from December 26.

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