Would Leave Both Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara Out: Steve Harmison Suggests Another Debutant In Mumbai Test
Steve Harmison, while replying to a fan's query on his YouTube channel, said it's a "difficult choice" but he would exclude both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara for the Mumbai Test.
- Steve Harmison feels India can drop Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara
- Pujara and Rahane have short of runs for quite some time now
- India will play New Zealand in the second Test in Mumbai on December 3
Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison said he won't be surprised if India leave out both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara for the series-deciding second and final Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai starting on Friday. Both Rahane and Pujara have faced criticism for their prolonged dry-run in Test cricket. On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer, who got the opportunity to make his Test debut in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, made best use of the chance and slammed a hundred and a fifty in the Kanpur Test. Now with Kohli set to return to the XI for the second Test, the Indian team management has a tough decision to make.
Harmison, while replying to a fan's query on his YouTube channel, said it's a "difficult choice" but he would exclude both Rahane and Pujara for the Mumbai Test.
"It's a tough question but in my humble opinion, I would leave both of them (Rahane and Pujara) out. They have had wonderful careers... unbelievably good players for India. But if they both got left out of the Indian side in Mumbai I wouldn't be surprised," Harmison said.
The former right-arm seamer, who represented England in 63 Tests, 58 ODIs and two T20Is, said Rahane and Pujara had a "resigned look" when they were dismissed cheaply in both innings of the previous Test.
"I think they both [Rahane and Pujara] looked as if they were done, they both left the field with a resigned look on their faces with their bats under their arms as if they knew it may be the last time they walk out in the field for India," Harmison added.
Rahane, who was leading the side in Kohli's absence, scored 35 and 4 in the first Test. Rahane's average in the 16 Test matches that he has played in the last two years is only 24.39 with only one hundred - in Melbourne against Australia - and two fifties. Pujara, on the other hand, has not scored a hundred in his last 16 Tests and averages a mere 27.65 during that period which is considerably lower than his career average of 45.11.
Harmison said Suryakumar Yadav, who was drafted into the Test side in place of the injured KL Rahul can be handed debut.
"Suryakumar Yadav might come in, could bat at No.3. He's familiar about playing on that ground for Mumbai Indians. Then Kohli at 4 and Shreyas Iyer at 5 that will be my middle-order," he added.
Harmison also said that the Indian team will have more energy with the return of Virat Kohli in the side.
"Virat comes back in, it's gonna be a different atmosphere, the crowd will be a lot more noisy. Virat comes back with a presence and enthusiasm which is a lot different," he added.