The Indian cricket team didn’t get off to the finest of starts on Day 1 of the first Test against South Africa, with KL Rahul emerging as the only batter to score a half-century. Had it not been for Rahul’s gritty knock, India might not have even managed to put 200 runs on the board. Seeing the touring batting unit’s poor show on Day 1 of the Centurion Test, Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar admitted that the team needed someone like Ajinkya Rahane in the middle.
Gavaskar recalled Rahane’s exploits from 5 years ago at Johannesburg, highlighting how well the veteran batter handled the tricky pitch where other batters seemed to crumble.
“People have been talking about the pitch in the Johannesburg Test five years back and I was there. Yeah it wasn’t the easiest of pitches to bat on the odd ball was climbing up. And Ajinkya Rahane, who had not been picked for the first two Test matches, was picked for that game and he showed what the Indian team had missed because earlier on in the first couple of Test matches India did not lose by big margins.
“So maybe somebody with Rahane’s experience overseas… because Rahane overseas has been such a fine, fine player and maybe if he had been there today the story could have been completely different,” Gavaskar said while commentating on Star Sports.
Rahane still remains one of India’s most consistent overseas players. But, the last couple of years have seen him lose his spot in the Indian Test team. Rahane did make a comeback to the team for the World Test Championship final 2023 after a brilliant Indian Premier League 2023 campaign with the Chennai Super Kings but didn’t get the nod as the selectors announced squad for the South Africa tour.
While Rahane still has the potential to deliver in the whites, the selectors seem to be determined to give younger players a chance in a bid to assemble a squad for the future.