Updated: 13 January 2022
Test cricket is often referred to be the best format of Cricket. It is said that the skills and quality of a batsman are best judged by the way he performs in the most prolonged format of Cricket. Team India under the captainship of Virat Kohli/ KL Rahul is currently locking horns with South Africa in the 3-match test series which is a part of WTC 2023.
There has been a lot of debate about the performance of two Indian batters in recent times in test cricket. They are Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Both these players have come under heavy criticism due to their dismal performance off-late.
Have Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara Become A Burden On The Indian Test team
If we look at the current Indian test batting line-up, two players play only one form of Cricket, Pujara (the wall) and Rahane. These players don’t get the luxury to feature in the ODI or T20 team. Both Pujara and Rahane have not been in the best of forms for the last two years. If we look at the data, Rahane, since 2020, has scored 831 runs in 20 matches with an average of 26.76. On the other hand, Pujara has managed to score 1045 runs in 21 matches at an average of 27.09.
There has been a lot of debate about the way Pujara has batted since the last few tests. His over defensive batting has not gone well with the fans. They say that if Pujara plays 100 balls and scores ten runs and then gets out, it puts extra pressure on the middle-order.
His last 4 test scores are 3, 53, 43,9 On the other hand, Rahane’s last two test innings have scores of 5 and 1. The single-digit performance of both these key Indian players is a matter of concern. Pujara scored 219 runs with an average of 21.90 in the last 10 tests innings, while Rahane scored just 189 runs in the last 10 innings.
Indian Middle Order
In a sport like cricket, it is often said that when a team is on a winning streak, the nonperforming players get unnoticed. But as soon as the team starts losing, even the smallest of mistakes get noticed. The same thing seems to happen with Rahane and Pujara. In the first test against, SA, India played well and won the match.
Similarly, in the second test, questions have been asked regarding both players’ performance and the same also needs to be asked from captain KL Rahul, (Rahul was the captain in the second test) because he failed to deliver a captainship knock like the first test.
Gavaskar’s View On Pujara & Rahane
Sunil Gavaskar has said in an interview that it is sad to find Pujara and Rahane being trolled very severely for their performance when the entire middle-order is struggling. He said that both these players are proven match-winners, and they should be left alone.
Every player has a few lean patches in their career. Rahane was the highest scorer in the WTC final for India. Pujara has also performed well in the series against Australia. It is just a matter of time that they will be back in form.
Pujara and Rahane have been the pillars of the Indian middle-order for quite some time. Both these batsmen have played many memorable knocks for India. Their batting performance is a cause of concern for India.
With Suryakumar Yadav, Shubhman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Prithvi Shaw, etc., warming the bench, pressure on Pujara and Rahane will increase exponentially. They will have to score runs for their betterment as well as for the team.
This test series against South Africa may be a make or break for these two players. However, we feel that both these stars will get out from their lean patch and score runs in the remaining test series.