While the selection of Jasprit Bumrah grabbed all the headlines, the snub faced by Ajinkya Rahane seems to have taken the backseat in the excitement of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s blistering start. Our in-house team looks at whether India got the decision right in the first game of the Freedom series.
Rahane who? Time to move on
It is absolutely absurd to make the claim that Rahane’s exclusion from the squad might be a mistake that could cost India dearly in the “first real” Test series they have had in over three years. While Rahane’s numbers do paint a picture of a man who can counter foreign conditions, possibly better than anyone in the Indian side, the argument that his form from three years ago weighs heavier than his current wasteful nature is foolish, to say the least. His form away from home might be 53.44, which eventually rises to 59.37 in South Africa, but his exploits in the season gone by can’t be ignored. Averaging a mere 34.62, with just one century, in 2017, was compounded by his average of 3.4 (YES, THREE POINT FOUR) in five innings against Sri Lanka at home. Just by looking at the numbers, you cannot select a player who had played well in foreign conditions three years ago over a guy who is arguably going through a purple patch of his career.
What is even worse is the sheer disrespect that Rohit Sharma has been shown due to the selection issue. It’s not like Rohit is a scrub. Before he picked up an injury against New Zealand, that ruled him out for almost six months in late 2016, he was finally looking like the player who could deliver on the potential that was promised with three fifties in five innings with two
Sorry. Are you sure?
Agreed that Rahane hasn’t performed as per the expectations in the last one year, but we can’t discount the fact that he has been India’s best batsman overseas, having averaged an incredible 53.44 away from home, and as quoted above, 59.37 in South Africa. Not long ago, in 2012-13, when India toured South Africa, Rahane, alongside Virat Kohli, didn’t throw his wicket away despite being subjected to the nonchalant and menancing pace-bowling of Dale Steyn. India's only win in their 13-Test marathon away run in England and Australia in 2014 and 2015 came on the back of a Rahane century on a green top at Lord’s.
Secondly, Rahane has got a very good footwork to counter the swinging conditions and has always been a better player of bouncing balls as compared to his fellow Mumbaikar. Every side needs players like him, frontrunners who
Since the beginning of his Test career, Rahane has always been touted as a bad player of spin bowling and has a difference of 16.55 when it comes to his away vs home average. So it is unfair to leave him out on the basis of his current form at home, where spinners are more deadlier.
Another critical argument, but something that is rarely taken as