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Sanjay Manjrekar believes Ajinkya Rahane should be dropped from Test squad
By SMCS - Jan 14, 2022 2:00 pm
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Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar feels that the time has come to drop Ajinkya Rahane from the Test side after yet another below-par show in South Africa. Manjrekar has stated that Rahane has hardly done anything great in recent times. He stated as Rahane got out for one run on Day 3 of the Cape Town Test on Thursday whereas managed only nine runs in the first innings.

ajinkya rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

Moreover, he will end the series with 136 runs in six innings at an average of 22.67 as well. While speaking after the end of the third day’s play, Manjrekar opened up on this to ESPN Cricinfo.

He said: “It’s (his dismissal) a combination of a good delivery and Ajinkya Rahane’s form. He needs to go back and play first-class cricket and hopefully get his mojo back. I would not give Rahane another innings. Pujara has a stronger case in my book. Nothing about Rahane in the last 3-4 years gives me hope that he is coming back into form. There have been glimmers when he got a hundred in Melbourne. But, apart from that, nothing much.”

Sharing his views on Rahane’s struggles, Daryll Cullinan added: “Again there was no foot movement. Perhaps he is intimidated by the bounce and the sideways movement. He has occupied that position now (for a long time). He must be on the list.”

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He further shared: “I am not convinced about (Mayank) Agarwal. They are the two (facing the axe), if I was Rahul Dravid, looking at batsmen to play abroad. If he’s honest with himself, he might be thinking it’s the end of the road (for Rahane). There’s some young exciting talent which now deserves a run.”

mayank agarwal
Mayank Agarwal won the man of the match award

Meanwhile, India openers – KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal both struggled to score in the challenging conditions and failed as a unit too. Analyzing India’s batting woes, Cullinan explained: “India battled with bounce and the lateral movement, not so much with the pace. That has been their undoing in this series. Not enough of them have stood up and shown the technique to be able to cope with it. There have been too many Indian batsmen, who haven’t even been able to occupy the crease.”

However, he has also applauded young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant for scoring a ton on Day 3. While he scored a century, his main focus was on extending the lead, said the veteran. He smashed an unbeaten 100 off 139 balls on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Team India could manage 198 runs in 67.3 overs as well. While praising Rishabh Pant, Manjrekar said that he proved he is a complete team man. He said: “How unselfish was that innings. He was only focused on prolonging that innings, not worried about getting that hundred. He has got out in the 90s a couple of times. This is a guy who plays for his team and that was amply evident.”

He further added: “Lot of big-name batters would have quickly got a hundred and then decided ‘let me see what I can do’. He was constantly thinking of just one goal – to extend the innings.”

rishabh pant
Risahbh Pant played a rash shot

Notably, Sanjay Manjrekar has also slammed the youngster for playing a poor shot in the previous Test. He also stated that the youngster has played the same stroke on Thursday also but this time it went for four runs.

The former batsman added: “There is something unique about this guy. A lot of criticism for the shot he played and got out to Rabada in the last Test match. He played the same shot against Olivier when he was 14 or 18, smacked him four. Virender Sehwag was different, this is a guy who is even more different. Look at the exploits. He scored more than half the runs for the side.”

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Notably, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli (29) added 94 runs. But, the tail-enders failed to score and, Manjrekar criticized them as well.

“I have a problem with Mohammed Shami’s shot, especially with Pant at the other end. That was somebody trying to show some bravado. All he had to do was hang in there. With the kind of ability Pant has, who knows, he could have taken 30-40 runs more. Bumrah too has got caught in this thing with (Marco) Jansen. He wants to show that ‘I am not someone who is scared of fast bowling’. Those shots were like two tailenders trying to set a target with shortage of time. That has to be looked at,” Sanjay Manjarekar concluded.