IND vs SA | Ajinkya Rahane cannot play the first Test in South Africa, says VVS Laxman

IND vs SA | Ajinkya Rahane cannot play the first Test in South Africa, says VVS Laxman

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Ajinkya Rahane has endured a poor run of form in 2021


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VVS Laxman feels that Ajinkya Rahane should be benched for India’s first Test against South Africa later this month, citing that continuity is important in terms of team selection. He called for Shreyas Iyer’s inclusion, who had an impressive start to his Test career against New Zealand recently.

VVS Laxman feels that India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane shouldn’t be a part of their first Test against South Africa in Centurion, beginning December 26, given his poor run of form in recent times. After a match-winning hundred in last year’s Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne, Rahane has managed just 411 runs at 19.57 from 12 Tests this year, with just two 50-plus scores.

Laxman called for Shreyas Iyer’s inclusion in the middle-order, after the youngster became the first Indian batsman to register a hundred and a fifty in his debut Test, against New Zealand in Kanpur recently.

"According to me, Ajinkya Rahane cannot play in the first match. Continuity is very important, so I will play Shreyas Iyer because if you give someone two Test matches and the way he batted on debut under pressure," Laxman said during a discussion on Star Sports.

"He scored a century and a half-century, so I will give that continuity, the confidence that you want to give to a young batsman, I will definitely give that."

Laxman also felt that Hanuma Vihari, who is currently representing the India A team in the three-match unofficial Test series in South Africa, makes a strong case for a spot in the middle-order. Vihari has aggregated 151 runs at 75.50 from three innings in the series so far, with a highest of 72*.

"I will definitely include Hanuma Vihari in the squad because with what combination Virat Kohli plays. We have seen that the top five will be batters, Rishabh Pant at No.6 as a wicketkeeper-batsman," asserted Laxman.

Laxman, India’s fourth-highest run-scorer in Tests, felt that the management should go in with both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin as spin-bowling all-rounders, with three pacers to follow in the bowling department.

"Jadeja can play as an all-rounder because he performs with the bat as well and you can't take Jadeja lightly as a batsman anymore, even in overseas conditions,” he said. “So Jadeja will be at No.7 and after that, four bowlers - three fast bowlers and Ravichandran Ashwin. So this will be the combination."

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