Former India opener Aakash Chopra said that the Indian team management might run out of patience if the middle-order batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara don’t contribute in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test.
Both Pujara and Rahane failed to score once again in India’s first innings of the second Test against South Africa. While Pujara managed only three runs, Rahane was dismissed for a golden duck. In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opened up on this.
“Pujara and Rahane – same story once again. I think both of them are on thin ice. Both are dear to all of us, we have a lot of respect for these two players, but there is one more innings – the next innings of this match. If they score runs, they will be able to save their places else the next Test match, the team management will run out of patience,” he said.
Aakash Chopra continued:
“There is a possibility that one out of the two can definitely go out because Shreyas Iyer is sitting out after scoring a century. I will not touch Hanuma Vihari at all because if you keep dropping after one-one match, everyone will say you give them so many chances and leave me out after one chance.”
Meanwhile, Hanuma Vihari looked comfortable during his 20-run knock. And, Aakash Chopra revealed the technical deficiencies of Rahane and Pujara. He explained:
“The biggest problem is that they are playing short balls on the front foot. If you see the lengths of those deliveries, it is telling that you should play them off the back foot, use the bounce, go deep in the crease and play shots off the back foot.”
Aakash Chopra also shared the causes of their dismissals on Day 1 of the Johannesburg Test.
“Rahane was too far forward and Pujara was stuck in the middle, no one went back. Pujara’s hands are very low, so the ball hits the shoulder or the inside edge of the bat due to extra bounce. Rahane made a front foot press, the ball was quite far and he just poked at it. The height at which the ball was, there was no way he could have scored. So it is a problem,” Aakash Chopra again shared.
“There is commitment in this guy” – Aakash Chopra on KL Rahul
He has applauded KL Rahul for his stable knock on the first day of the ongoing second Test between India and South Africa as well. Rahul scored 50 runs off 133 deliveries on Day 1.
His knock helped India post a total of 202 runs. He again stated that Rahul could have got a little more adventurous as well. He shared:
“KL Rahul shines again, I mean this is phenomenal. There is commitment in this guy. Kamaal Lajawab Rahul has fallen in love with Test cricket, with leaving balls outside off-stump and with standing in the middle for a long time. What he did in Centurion was amazing; there is no doubt about that. But when you go to a new ground after a century, you feel you have already scored a century; you are in form, and then you play drives against half-volleys and also on the up because you have the confidence.”
However, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal’s century partnership in the first Test gave Team India a stable start. And, the veteran lauded KL Rahul for leading from the font as well.
“If you come to the next match and start the same way as you had started in Centurion, meaning you know that you have to start at zero again, that requires a different kind of discipline and commitment, that you will stick to your process. That was phenomenal because he played a lot of deliveries, more than 130. He kept on leaving, and if you didn’t know that he had scored a century in Centurion, you will feel that this is the first match of the series, and he is treading cautiously because of that, but that is not the case,” Aakash Chopra concluded.