Former India pace bowler Zaheer Khan said that there is a bit more pressure on Cheteshwar Pujara than Ajinkya Rahane before the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai. Both senior batsmen have been short of runs recently and ask for a change in the middle-order as well.
The duo once again failed to do well in the first Test. With the captain Virat Kohli returning back into the squad, a change might be seen in the playing XI as well. However, Zaheer Khan added that there is also a little possibility that the team management might drop an opener to add both Pujara and Rahane to the playing XI.
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 3, 2021
While speaking on Cricbuzz, he said:
“The middle-order headache for this Test has come after Iyer’s fantastic debut performance. Iyer made good use of his opportunity. Virat Kohli is sure to come in, so there needs to be space made in the middle-order. I think there is a bit more pressure on Pujara and that is not entirely performance-based. Have seen in previous instances that often an opener gets dropped. They might go in a direction and ask whether Pujara can open in these conditions, but there is no denying that there needs to be some shuffling.”
Zaheer Khan again shared that the addition of Iyer is a certainty after his player-of-the-match display in Kanpur.
“Iyer should definitely play, there is absolutely no question about it. They either have to drop an opener or drop either one of Pujara or Rahane,” he told.
However, Shreyas Iyer became the 16th Indian player to smash a hundred on debut in the first Test against New Zealand. He also became the first player from India to record a century and a half-century in his debut Test as well.
Siraj has been a mainstay now with good consistent performances – Zaheer Khan
While speaking of the bowling unit, Zaheer Khan added that the combination was straightforward for Team India. He said that the only change in combination could arise if conditions in Mumbai continue to be overcast.
“I don’t think determining the bowling attack would be a difficult decision. Siraj has been a mainstay now with good consistent performances. If India decides to play 3 seamers then Axar Patel will be the bowler who will have to make way. But pitches in India always have some turn, on offer after Day 3, so don’t think there will be too many changes in the bowling combination,” Zaheer Khan concluded.
The second Test between India and New Zealand, scheduled to begin on December 3 (Friday), has been delayed due to a wet outfield.