Lalchand Rajput pinpoints Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as key players for SA tour

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Lalchand Rajput pinpoints Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as key players for SA tour

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SportsCafe Desk


Former Afghanistan coach, Lalchand Rajput, has named Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as the key players for India ahead of the much-awaited tour of South Africa. Rajput also voiced his confidence in the all-conquering Indian side to come out on top in against the South Africans next month.

India have been on a run of form that comes along once in a generation. After the Australian team of the early and mid-2000s dominated world cricket, with the ruthlessness that was reminiscent of the West Indies team of yesteryear, no one would have thought it could be recreated. But the current Indian side now stands at the doors of history, having equalled Australia’s record of nine consecutive Test series wins, with a chance to usurp the Aussies.

However, in their way stand the mighty South Africans, who India have never beaten in a Test series. While a lot has been said about Kohli’s five double hundreds in the same time, his captaincy has gone under the radar. From changes within a game to picking a particular team for every venue, he has been exceptional. But for a first time in a long while, former Indian players and pundits are confident of India’s performance in the African country.

“Virat and Rohit are the key players. Then, you have Ajinkya Rahane and the bowling too is good, Rajput told Hindustan Times.

“India have a good chance of beating the South African cricket team. This team has the potential to do wonders and make history.

“Considering the situation they (India) are in, even if they are playing home or away, they just want to win. Kohli is an aggressive captain who is not afraid to lose. It’s a ruthless team.”

But it wasn’t Kohli that Rajput singled out for special praise. Just as it looked like Rohit was finally cementing his place in the Test side with three half-centuries in five innings, he succumbed to an injury that kept him out of the team for back to back series against England and Australia. However, once he was back, Rohit was back to his best and with a century and two half-centuries in 3 innings, he has given the management a wanted selection headache. 

Rohit, who is leading the team in Kohli’s absence, scored his third ODI double hundred – a feat that is not going to be overtaken by anyone apart from him in the near future. Rajput said that he was happy for the stand-in skipper after his struggles with injuries.

“When he (Rohit) bats, he’s a treat to watch. He was a revelation in the 2007 ICC World T20 and did well in the tri-series in Australia in 2008. Yes, he hasn’t played much Test cricket, but he has been unlucky due to injuries. Even in the Nagpur Test against South Africa in 2010, he was set to make his debut but got injured,” Rajput added.

“Now, things seem good. He did well in the Sri Lanka Tests and hopefully will continue his good form.”

Rajput, who played a big part in Afghanistan’s rise in world cricket, praised the BCCI for their decision to host their Asian neighbours’ Test debut.

“It’s a great thing that they (Afghanistan) will play against the No 1 team in the world. India has always been supportive of Afghanistan.

“They (Afghanistan) have naturally talented players who want to excel. The good thing is that they’ll play against top teams. Five-day cricket is a different ball game and they’ll get to learn a lot,” he said.

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