Sunil Gavaskar has suggested Team India should include Ajinkya Rahane in the squad for the Johannesburg Test and give the wicketkeeping role to KL Rahul. The former Indian batsman has also lashed out at the Indian batsmen for their negative attitude in the first two Tests which cost the series.
Poor team selection has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Indian team in the ongoing Test series against South Africa. Though the exclusion of Ajinkya Rahane from the squad, India’s best performer in South Africa, in favour of Rohit Sharma couldn’t be pointed out to be the solution to India’s batting woes, former cricketing great Gavaskar has suggested the same ahead of the third Test as India desperately try to prevent a whitewash.
With regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha out injured, India had decided to go with Parthiv Patel in the second Test, which didn’t fare well. It even led to the team decided to call Dinesh Karthik for the third and final game. However, Gavaskar has asked the management to deploy KL Rahul in the position, who could solve India’s struggle to find the right combination as Rahul has experience of keeping for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore and also on some occasions in T20Is for India.
"Clearly, going into an overseas Test series with just five batsmen has not worked. Since South Africa are thinking in terms of going in with an all-pace attack, it might make sense for India to go in with Rahane and have Rahul keep wickets," Gavaskar wrote in his column for TOI.
"It is a big risk but then Dinesh Karthik has not kept wickets for Tamil Nadu in every game last season. India may look to leave out Ashwin and bring in another new-ball bowler, with Pandya being the fifth bowler," Gavaskar added.
Indian bowlers have tried hard to keep alive the team’s hope until the very last ball so far, but the batsmen have failed to perform on both occasions against of South Africa’s pace battery, and Gavaskar has taken a stern stance upon them.
"First things first; this Indian team has always played for the pride of representing India and given everything on the field. There is no doubting their skill levels. However, it is in the 'temperament' area that their batsmen have floundered and surrendered whatever advantage their bowlers gave them," Gavaskar said.
"The bowlers have bowled their hearts out, but again the fielding support has not always been as good as it should have been. That has allowed the lower order of the South African line-up to have those baby partnerships that have given the Proteas crucial extra runs,” he added.