India vs South Africa | Allan Donald picks Ajinkya Rahane to steady ship for visitors

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India vs South Africa | Allan Donald picks Ajinkya Rahane to steady ship for visitors

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SportsCafe Desk


SA pace legend Allan Donald thinks that dropping Ajinkya Rahane from the starting XI was the decision that backfired for India in their disappointing defeat. Donald, however, praised India's pace bowling department after their brilliant display in the first Test, especially debutant Jasprit Bumrah.

After a terrific home season, Virat Kohli's squad’s first assignment in 2018 hasn't started on a memorable note, as they suffered a 72-run defeat to South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series. While Indian seamers bowled phenomenally to dismiss South Africa twice at Cape Town, it was the batsmen who failed to live up to the expectations. 

Ever since the loss, a lot of doubts have been raised over the inclusion of Rohit Sharma over Ajinkya Rahane in the starting XI. SA legend Allan Donald was the latest to join the bandwagon, who agreed with the majority.

“I really think it’s harsh to keep Rahane out. Last time he was here he had a great tour. I think for me, Rahane is the man who can steady the ship. He is a rock-solid guy and a good head on his shoulders,” said Donald said in an interview with Hindustan Times.

The 51-year old South African was confident that the Proteas squad would love to see Rahane on the bench rather than on the pitch.

"In my opinion, it would be foolish now to make changes. That’s the selectors’ decision again. But again, South Africans see Rahane sitting on the bench and carrying drinks and they would say ‘wow’. They would rather have that, you know. He’s an absolutely world-class player," he added.

Doubts have also been raised over the inclusion of the often inconsistent Shikhar Dhawan over the naturally gifted KL Rahul. Donald, who is often regarded as one of the greatest pacers to emerge from the African continent, further went on to praise the team’s bowling department after a promising display during the first Test match. 

"I think it’s an amazing bowling lineup. They have passion, control, they are very aggressive and that was a spirited bowling performance. That positivity can be taken to the next Test match. Yes, they are different in pace but they have a lot of skill. South Africa’s bowling attack is based on pace with the exception of Philander while the Indian bowling attack has got incredible variety,” he said.

“I can see why he was selected. He’s very reliable, he’s very skillful, he’s got pace. I thought he had a tremendous first Test. It looks like he belongs in that environment and not just being labelled in T20. I think it’s good to see him in the Test arena. I think he’s there to stay for a long time,” added Donald singling out Test debutant Bumrah.

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