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New Zealand v India

Simon Doull: Ajinkya Rahane has had his time, Shreyas Iyer has got to play

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Simon Doull has said that India’s current stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane should be dropped for their second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai.

Speaking on Byju’s Cricket Live, the former Kiwi-seamer highlighted the fall in Rahane’s batting average over the last few years and the competition for places in the India side as a reason for the vice-captain to be left out.

“Loyalty lasts a certain amount of time,” he said. “They’ve shown an immense amount of loyalty to [Cheteshwar] Pujara and Rahane. His average has gone from almost fifty to under forty. I think he’s had his time”,  Doull said.

Rahane is currently captaining India in the absence of Virat Kohli, but Kohli will return for the second Test match against New Zealand. Shreyas Iyer, on debut, has scored a century and a fifty in in Kohli’s absence, whereas Rahane has only managed scores of 35 and 4.

“You cannot deny a player like Shreyas Iyer a Test match after he’s just got a hundred and a fifty, so for me, unfortunately, Ajinkya Rahane misses out. Stick with Pujara for this Test match, he bats at three, Kohli bats at four and Shreyas Iyer at five. If they don’t do that then I think the selectors are making a mistake.”

Rahane averages only 24.39 in 16 Tests since the start of 2020, and has only managed one hundred in that time. However, that hundred did come when he was acting as stand-captain against Australia at the MCG in 2020, a knock named Wisden’s Test innings of 2021. He was praised for his leadership on that tour, with Rahane leading an injury-ravaged India to a historic 2-1 series victory Down Under.

India batting coach Vikram Rathour gave his backing to both Pujara and Rahane.

“Of course we want our top order to contribute, but the cricketers you mentioned have played 80 and 90 Test matches so they have the experience,” Rathour said. “Of course to play that many games they must have done well for us. I understand both of them are going through a lean phase but they have played very very important knocks for us in the past, and we are pretty sure they will come back and play more important knocks for our team in the future as well.”

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