Aakash Chopra has pointed out that India’s batting struggles are the biggest worry for the team ahead of the three match Test series against South Africa starting from December 26. Chopra also added that the form of opening pair can also be a concern as Rohit Sharma will miss the Tests.
India are preparing ahead of their first Test in Centurion from December 26 for the Test series. Most of the first-choice players have returned to the squad after being rested or injured during the New Zealand series at home. India will be eyeing a maiden Test series win in South Africa on this occasion.
The red-ball squad has been in superb form this year, especially overseas. First, they beat Australia in a four match Test series by 2-1 earlier this year. They were leading against England by 2-1 and were on the verge of a series win before the last Test of the series was postponed due to Covid-19 outbreak. Bowling has been the key for India in their success overseas.
India will miss the services of Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Rohit Sharma who would have contributed majorly with the bat. The form of two senior batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the team is a cause of concern. The runs have dried from the bat of these two batsmen since the last few matches. Former India cricketer, Aakash Chopra has opined that India’s struggle in batting is the biggest worry. He also said that no one except Kohli was amongst the runs for the team in the last series in South Africa and that was the main issue.
“Last time (in South Africa), our highest run-scorer was Virat Kohli. He scored 286 runs at an average of 47. But there was no one else who scored runs and that was the main issue. If you don't bat four or five sessions, it becomes difficult to win. Last time, India couldn't even play three properly,” said Chopra on his YouTube channel.
“India played good in Australia and England. But we are struggling in batting which is my biggest worry. We don't have Axar or Jadeja (in lower-middle order) or Rohit (in opening order). Rahane doesn't have the form and Pujara hasn't been consistent as well.”
Rohit Sharma will miss the Test series due to a hamstring injury and it will be interesting to see who will open the innings with KL Rahul. Chopra said that the absence of Rohit might be a problem in the series.
“Opening didn't work out very well. If openers don't do well, the team doesn't do well. We did well in England because Rahul and Rohit were consistent; here, we don't have that, which could be a problem,” he elaborated.
“Now, Mayank will open with Rahul. Both started their India journey in the Boxing Day Tests and now they're back. In between, Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, and Prithvi Shaw all opened for the side. So it's phenomenal how the world changes, really.”
India pace bowling was impressive on their last series in South Africa and have been consistent in recent years. Mohammed Shami picked 15 wickets in the series while Japsrit Bumrah scalped 14 wickets. Chopra mentioned that the key performers are there in the team and also Mohammed Siraj is a good addition to the squad.
"Among bowlers, Philander was the top wicket-taker alongside Shami and Rabada. Bumrah had his debut series and returned with 14 wickets. The key performers are still there; in fact, we also have Siraj in the team now,” he concluded.