- Ajinkya Rahane scored 35 and 4 in first and second innings, respectively, in the first Test against New Zealand.
- The second Test match between the sides will be played in Mumbai on December 3.
While India were favourites to win the first Test of the two-match series with one New Zealand wicket remaining and some 9-10 odd overs left on the final day, the BlackCaps managed to draw the match. The result might have been a psychological win for the Kiwis but it was definitely not what the Men in Blue were expecting in the first Test at Kanpur especially after sitting at the driver’s seat.
And the result has understandably sparked debate over what the ideal team composition could be like and with Virat Kohli coming back for the Mumbai Test who he will replace in the Playing XI. Although there were already concerns over Ajinkya Rahane’s form, the Mumbai batter, who was leading the side in Kanpur in the absence of Kohli, could not deliver yet again as he made scores of 35 and 4 in the two innings.
Weighing in on the changes that India can make in their XI for the final Test against the Kiwis at the Wankhede Stadium set to commence on December 3, former India all-rounder Madan Lal stated that there is only one person whose place Kohli can take in the XI and it is no one else than Rahane.
Pujara has stayed at the wicket and scored runs, same cannot be said about Rahane: Lal
“Shreyas Iyer scored valuable runs in both innings, and then Pujara is a batter who has scored runs. He may have not scored big hundreds but Pujara has stayed at the wicket and scored runs. The same cannot be said about Rahane though. So I feel that if you are to make a change, there is only one person whose place Virat can take, which is Ajinkya Rahane,” Lal said on Sports Tak.
His remark comes after Shreyas Iyer scored a hundred in the first innings of his debut Test and later scored a half-century in the second innings. Shreyas had batted at Kohli’s preferred number four position in Kanpur but with Kohli coming in and Rahane expected to be dropped, Shreyas may have to bat at number 5.
Post the second Test match, India will be flying to South Africa for a multi-format series.