Drop Ajinkya Rahane from second Test: Former NZ skipper Daniel Vettori
Kanpur: Former New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori says India cricketer Ajinkya Rahane should be dropped for the second Test in Mumbai from December 3 so that he gets time to overcome his lean patch, which has continued for too long.
In the ongoing Test against New Zealand at Green Park here, stand-in skipper Rahane has scores of 35 and 4 respectively, prompting questions about his form of late.
The former Black Caps spinner said that while Rahane didn’t look tentative when batting, he was still getting out cheaply, which would weigh on his mind sooner or later.
“He (Rahane) looks like he wants to be aggressive; he doesn’t feel tentative while he is batting. But still he is getting out, and ostensibly that starts to weigh on a batsman’s mind. I think, being dropped and have the ability to come back can then reset a lot of things for someone, particularly as a batsman,” Vettori opined on espncricinfo’s Match Day on Sunday.
“As you go into a Test match with pressure on your shoulders, then it can weigh on your mind. So, in a lot of ways if they (selectors) leave him out of the next Test, I don’t think it is a death knell for his career. I think it is just a one Test match dropping… because it just resets everything, gives him a chance to go back and do a little bit of work,” said Vettori.
Rahane has come into this series with some pressure around his performance and he, along with another senior batter Cheteshwar Pujara, haven’t done their prospects any good with their performance in Green Park.
Former India player Wasim Jaffer was even more critical of the performance of the two batters, saying that it’s always the bowler who has to sit out if a batter doesn’t perform.
“I think he (Rahane) would be more upset with the start that he got in the first innings and didn’t convert it into a big one because second innings anytime when you bat on a Day 4 or Day 5 pitch, it is going to be hard work. So, you can understand that the second innings is always going to be a struggle,” said Jaffer.
“But the first innings when the conditions are good for batting, that’s where I think he would be upset that he didn’t convert (it) into a big score. So, it’s going to be big question when Virat Kohli comes in (for the second Test in Mumbai), who goes out and what kind of combination the Indian team plays, because Mayank hasn’t got runs, Ajinkya hasn’t got runs, Pujara hasn’t got runs,” added Jaffer.
Jaffer indicated that it’s wrong to bench a bowler when a batter is responsible for not putting enough runs on the board.
“It’s (form of Pujara and Rahane) going to be a big question mark going into the next Test. I think, in India when the batsman is out of form, the bowler sits out. So, you might see four bowlers playing in Wankhede (Stadium).”
Jaffer said that the selectors had been presented with a very tricky situation where they might have to drop the stand-in skipper for the second Test.
“I mean it’s a tricky question because somebody who is captain in the first Test, you will think twice before dropping him for the second Test. I’ll probably think about opening with (Wriddhiman) Saha and if at all I have to drop Mayank (Agarwal), then that is the one option I might go (with),” concluded Jaffer.