Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir reckons that Ajinkya Rahane will find it tough to get a place in the playing XI against South Africa. Rahane’s place came under scrutiny after his lean patch in Tests in 2021. He is averaging below 25 this year and has not scored a century since his epic hundred in Melbourne last year. However, the selectors have persisted with him for the three-match Test series in South Africa.
The right-hand batter has also been dropped as the vice-captain of the team. The Indian squad boast of some very talented youngsters like Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, who have made a strong case for a place in the playing XI. The former had a terrific start to his Test career and scored a century and half-century in his debut Test against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Vihari was seen in good form during India A tour of South Africa. Gautam Gambhir believes Rahane might not be the first choice player in the playing XI for the South Africa series. “Tough, that is what I can say because he is not a starter, to be honest. I feel Ajinkya Rahane will find it difficult to get a place in the playing XI,” Gambhir said during an interaction on the Star Sports show Follow the Blues.
The southpaw also asserted that Rahane is unlikely to be preferred over the in-form players like Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari. “You have got Shreyas Iyer; it will be very difficult for India or the captain to drop him because of his recent performances. At the same time, Hanuma Vihari has done really well as well,” he explained further.
India are yet to win a Test series in South Africa. The team managed to come close in 2006-07 and 2013 but fell agonizingly short on both occasions. Among the SENA countries, this remains India’s final frontier.