Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar wants big changes in the Indian Test team ahead of the upcoming homes season and he wants the selection committee to start by dropping both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara for the Sri Lanka Tests at home.
Ajinkya Rahane(1) and Cheteshwar Pujara(9) fell in quick succession in India’s second innings on day three again of the final Test against South Africa to leave India in trouble as their long rope of irregularity continued. A lot was expected from these two seniors as India needed to put up a good total to realize their dream of a maiden Test series wins in South Africa.
However, Pujara fell on the second ball of the third day, getting caught in slips by Keegan Petersen off Marco Jansen and Rahane followed soon after, with Kagiso Rabada getting him caught by Dean Elgar.
I Believe There Will Be Two Vacant Places In The XI: Sunil Gavaskar
Despite failing with the bat consistently since 2019, Pujara has managed to string up some important performances with the bat to deserve some backing. But Rahane has not scored any significant score barring a fifty in Lord’s and a fifty in Johannesburg. However, the failures of these two at important times have outweighed the good knocks they have played.
Hence, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar who had earlier backed the duo to come good has now felt that their places will be up for grabs in the Sri Lanka series. Gavaskar mentioned that Rahane will not be the only one to lose his spot while Pujara would also be left out.
“I think that not just Ajinkya Rahane (will be out of the team). Shreyas Iyer got an opportunity in the Test series against New Zealand and he scored a well-crafted century. He scored decent runs throughout the series, so I believe there will be two vacant places in the XI,” Sunil Gavaskar said on air.
Gavaskar also wanted Hanuma Vihari to replace Pujara at the no.3 spot in the XI. He felt that Vihari, who made 20 and an unbeaten 40 in the second Test at the Wanderers, deserves to get the backing from the side.
“I think both Pujara and Rahane will be dropped from the team for the Sri Lanka series. Iyer and Vihari will both play. We’ll have to see who plays at no.3. Hanuma Vihari may take Pujara’s place and Shreyas Iyer could be no.5 in place of Rahane, but we will have to see. Nevertheless, I think there will certainly be two spots up for grabs against Sri Lanka,” Gavaskar added.
India managed just 198 runs in their second innings thanks to Rishabh Pant’s 100* and set South Africa 212 runs to win. The hosts ended day 3 on 101/2.