Former India pacer Ashish Nehra feels that Team India will back Ajinkya Rahane for the second Test against South Africa despite his poor show in recent times. However, Rahane has lost his vice-captain post before the series and his spot came under the scanner too. He could manage 48 and 20 in Centurion Test though.
Nehra, while speaking to Cricbuzz, said that he was not expecting Rahane in the first Test, but after seeing him in the 1st Test, he is certain that Rahane will be picked for the second as well. The former left-arm pacer stated that when a team win by 113 runs then senior players like Rahane should be backed. Ashish Nehra said:
“I was surprised that Ajinkya Rahane played in the Test. But now that you have backed the senior player, which is also good to see, he scored 20-25 runs in the second innings too, so now you’ll have to back him in the future too. And when the team is doing well, then every player has a better chance to be backed, especially senior players. All three of them (Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli) fully understand that they need to score more runs. Because when you have played so many Tests, I don’t think anyone needs to tell you to score runs.”
“You can only wait and hope that they score runs” – Ashish Nehra on India’s three senior batters
While talking about Virat Kohli, Ashish Nehra said that the captain had a similar issue of getting out after being set in the middle. But he shared that he hopes Kohli to rectify his issues outside the off-stump soon and come back stronger.
“You can only wait and hope that they score runs because it’s not like they are not being able to touch the ball or get set at the crease. Take Virat Kohli’s case – the only issue is he’s getting out after being well set in 20s, 30s or 40s and in the same way. But the way he’s getting out, he has scored a lot of runs from the same place too… Virat Kohli will himself want [to rectify that]. There’s a batting coach and Rahul Dravid too. There can’t be anything better than that. As a fan, you can just hope that these three players get out of this lean patch as soon as possible,” Nehra added.
Meanwhile, Ashish Nehra also applauded the Player of the Match in the Test, KL Rahul, who laid the foundation for India’s win with his 123-run knock in the first innings alongside Mayank Agarwal. The second Test will begin on January 3 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
“South African bowlers will be disappointed with their bowling on Day 1 but you’ll still have to give all credit to KL Rahul… Whatever he thought his mistakes were, he has learned from them and is now converting it to performance. Whenever you talk about talent and skill, for me, KL Rahul as an opener is at par with Rohit Sharma. Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill have also done well but on pure talent and class, I always keep KL Rahul a bit ahead of them,” Ashish Nehra concluded.