Time for Ajinkya Rahane to return?


There are reports that Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan can be replaced by KL Rahul in the second Test starting from January 13.

There was enough to please India about their performance in that first Test, but also several areas that could be improved.

South African seamer Vernon Philander has said it was important to keep Indian run machine Virat Kohli quiet, after he recorded his career-best figures of 6/42 in the first Test at Cape Town.

Meanwhile, the debate over picking Rohit Sharma ahead of Ajinkya Rahane is likely to continue because the team will continue with the former over the latter simply because of the form and runs he carried with him from the home series against Sri Lanka. Rahane has hundreds at the Basin Reserve, Wellington; Lord's, London; MCG, Melbourne; P Sara and SSC, Colombo; and Sabina Park, Kingston.

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In the second innings as well Rohit looked good when he was building a partnership with Kohli but both batsmen departed in quick succession to leave India reeling.

It remains to be seen if how numerous three - Rahul, Rahane and Ishant - come into contention after the disappointing loss at Newlands. Rahul is undoubtedly better equipped to play the situation, but he is not the form player at the moment.

"You have to be open to those suggestions, but I'll have to give this one to "Faffie", he said. Bumrah continued to bowl his spells in his unorthodox ways as he collected four wickets in the two innings he played, where the biggest fish he caught twice was swashbuckler AB de Villiers. His selection was a roll of the dice, if the think-tank were to be honest, but one that paid off richly.

Their partnership did frustrate South Africa, but it was yet another ploy of bringing the wicketkeeper up to the wickets that worked. The changes came into place after Dale Steyn picked up a heel injury in the first Test at Newlands. This was not a bold call or one made in hope, but one that came from clarity. Why a five-bowler attack at the cost of an extra batsman.

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It can be argued that hindsight is always 20-20, and journalists and fans have the luxury of looking back with this flawless vision. Following that, the series moves to Johannesburg, a pitch very similar to that of Centurion, for the final Test. But, there is a reason why captains, coaches and selectors are paid what they are, acknowledged for their experience and acumen, and given those posts.

The team's logic over Sharma's inclusion is simple: By dropping him, what message do they convey to a batsman who scored an unbeaten century and two half-centuries (one unbeaten) in the only two Test matches he played in 2017.

He tallied 217 runs and was dismissed only once as India won the series 1-0.

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