The Indian Test skipper, Virat Kohli clarified that it’s not his job to discuss the future of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara after the two senior batters failed to do much in their 2-1 defeat to South Africa in a hard-fought Test series. Kohli said India continued to back the senior batters for their contributions to India over the years and highlighted that they have often made crucial contributions.
During the post-match press conference after the Test series defeat in Cape Town on Saturday, questions were asked of Rahane and Pujara’s places in the Test team. In fact, Rahane was sacked from the deputy skipper position ahead of the start of the series but the team management backed the senior duo in overseas conditions in South Africa.
Answering the queries, Virat Kohli said, “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. You have to speak to the selectors to find out what they have in mind, that’s not my job. 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.”
He further added, “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. These are the kind of performances that we recognize as a team. What the selectors have in mind and what they decide to do, I obviously can’t comment on that at this moment, sitting here.”
Ajinkya Rahane chipped in with a crucial 48 and 20 in the opening Test as India defeated South Africa by 113 runs in Centurion. He failed to perform consistently as he was dismissed for a duck in the first innings of the Johannesburg Test before stepping up with a fifty in the 2nd innings in a hundred-plus stand with Pujara.
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In the 3rd Test, Rahane and Pujara failed in the crucial 2nd innings as India managed just 198 on the board despite a stunning hundred from Rishabh Pant. India’s bating has come under the scanner once again as openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal failed to do much after their heroic knocks in the first Test.