Former India batsman turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar stated that the time has come to drop former Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane from the Test side. His comments came after yet another below-par performance of Rahane in South Africa. Manjrekar, however, has added that Rahane has hardly scored in recent times.
His comments came as Rahane got out for one run on Day 3 of the Cape Town Test on Thursday. However, he managed only nine runs in the first innings as well. Moreover, he finished the series with 136 runs in six innings which came at an average of 22.67 as well.
While speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, he said:
“It’s (his dismissal) a combination of a good delivery and Ajinkya Rahane’s form. He needs to go back and play first-class cricket and hopefully get his mojo back. I would not give Rahane another innings. Pujara has a stronger case in my book. Nothing about Rahane in the last 3-4 years gives me hope that he is coming back into form. There have been glimmers when he got a hundred in Melbourne. But, apart from that, nothing much.”
Rishabh Pant's four Test centuries have come in four different countries.
Which innings is your favourite? pic.twitter.com/6qcyBcLwsM
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 14, 2022
However, he has also praised young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant for scoring a hundred on Day 3. While he scored a century, his focus was on extending the lead as well
While praising Rishabh Pant, Manjrekar also said that he proved he is a complete team man. He said:
“How unselfish was that innings. He was only focused on prolonging that innings, not worried about getting that hundred. He has got out in the 90s a couple of times. This is a guy who plays for his team and that was amply evident.”
The former cricketer further added:
“Lot of big-name batters would have quickly got a hundred and then decided ‘let me see what I can do’. He was constantly thinking of just one goal – to extend the innings.”
Notably, Sanjay Manjrekar has also lashed out at Rishabh Pant for his poor shot in the previous Test. The veteran also claimed that Pant has played the same stroke on Thursday as well but this time got a boundary.
“There is something unique about this guy. A lot of criticism for the shot he played and got out to Rabada in the last Test match. He played the same shot against Olivier when he was 14 or 18, smacked him four. Virender Sehwag was different, this is a guy who is even more different. Look at the exploits. He scored more than half the runs for the side.”
“Those shots were like two tailenders trying to set a target with shortage of time” – Sanjay Manjrekar
Notably, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli (29) added 94 runs. But, the tail-enders failed to score and, Team India could only manage 198 runs in 67.3 overs as well. Sanjay Manjrekar criticized the tailenders, calling out Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami’s shot selection in the second innings.
“I have a problem with Mohammed Shami’s shot, especially with Pant at the other end. That was somebody trying to show some bravado. All he had to do was hang in there. With the kind of ability Pant has, who knows, he could have taken 30-40 runs more. Bumrah too has got caught in this thing with (Marco) Jansen. He wants to show that ‘I am not someone who is scared of fast bowling’. Those shots were like two tailenders trying to set a target with shortage of time. That has to be looked at,” Sanjay Manjrekar signed off.