India once again lost a Test series in South Africa and the hunt to win a Test series in the Rainbow Nation got extended. India almost repeated their mistakes from the past tour in 2018. Batting collapses, ordinary shots and team selection has once again come into question after the series loss. Two of the names that are being questioned, again and again, are Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
The two players have not performed to their standards and let the team down in crucial situations. But even after all the batting failures, the team management persisted with them just for another shabby performance. This led to a question about their place in the Test team for the FTP which was raised before Virat Kohli in the post-match conference. But the Indian Test captain refused to give a clear ordeal and called the selectors responsible for the same. However, he admitted that there are issues with India's batting that need to be sorted at the earliest.
“We need to step up with the bat. There is no running away from that. To answer this question, I can’t sit here and talk about what’s going to happen in the future. That’s not for me to sit here and discuss. You have to speak to the selectors to find out what they have in mind, that’s not my job,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
We backed them based on their past contributions: Virat Kohli
While Kohli refused to state about the future of the two players in the Test team, he had certainly an answer for why they were included in the XI after consistent failures. “As I said before and I will say again, we have continued to back Cheteshwar and Ajinkya because of the kind of players they are and what they have done in Test cricket over the years. They have done well in crucial situations, you saw that in the 2nd Test as well with that important partnership in the 2nd innings which got us to a total that we could fight for,” were Kohli's words.
It should be noted that both Pujara and Rahane have lacked consistency when it comes to scoring runs. While Pujara has an average of 21.90 in the last 10 Test innings, Rahane has an average of 18.9.