Ajinkya Rahane Or Shreyas Iyer At No.5? Former India Batter Identifies "Important Factor" That Could Decide Selection In 1st Test
Former India cricketer Pravin Amre feels how Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer fare in the net sessions in the lead-up to the first Test against South Africa could end up being an important factor in selection.
As India gear up to win their maiden Test series in South Africa, the dynamics of the side appears to have changed with more focus on India's underperforming middle-order and high hopes from the pace battery. India's fame middle-order comprising Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane have collectively scored only one Test hundred in last two years. All three of them average below 30 - Rahane 24.39, Pujara 27.38, Kohli 26.04 - in that same period. With Rohit Sharma ruled out of the the Test series with a hamstring injury, the pressure will be on the experienced batters to steer India's ship in the three-Tests in South Africa.
Ahead of the first Test in Centurion beginning on Sunday, the Indian team management have a tough choice to make. There have been indications of running out of patience with Rahane. The right-hander was replaced as India's Test vice-captain by Rohit Sharma ahead of the South Africa series and when the latter was injured, the selectors decided to give the responsibility to KL Rahul.
Shreyas Iyer, who had a fantastic home series against New Zealand, becoming the first Indian cricketer to score a hundred and a fifty on Test debut, has made matters more difficult for someone like Rahane.
Former India cricketer Pravin Amre feels how Rahane and Iyer fare in the net sessions in the lead-up to the first Test could end up being an important factor in selection.
“It's up to the team management. The practice sessions will tell them a lot. The first Test is always important. And so it's vital to back the best players, and the players in form. It's important to find out who is middling the ball well at the net sessions. Sometimes the team management has to take a tough call. I played my first Test after being a 12th man/reserve for eleven Tests. And that's because I was middling the ball well in the nets. These are important factors,” Amre told News18.
Amre said Iyer has done whatever was in his hands but there are others in the Indian Test side who have experience of playing in South African conditions.
“Shreyas has done that was in his hands. After four good years in domestic cricket, he got the breakthrough. He has done his job. Sheryas will play in South Africa for the first time in a Test match, but there are others who have already played there. The team management will take a call looking at the current situation,” he said.