BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has stated that Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara will go back to Ranji Trophy, and score a lot of runs in the domestic tournament. Ganguly further added that after playing so much international cricket, there is no problem in going back to play the Ranji Trophy.
Team India recently suffered a resounding 1-2 defeat against South Africa in the three-match Test series. The defeat in the red-ball series loss also ruled out India's chances of winning their first-ever Test series in the rainbow nation. The middle-order batting line-up of India failed to perform yet again, and it remains a huge concern for the team management.
The current batting form India middle-order batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have opened doors for fuming debates among fans and experts after the South Africa Test series. Pujara finished the red-ball series against South Africa with just 124 runs from three matches, while Rahane managed to score only 136 runs in six innings. In the last two years, the duo have failed to perform consistently with the bat in the longest format of the game for Team India.
Rahane and Pujara also faced demotion in central contracts, and the place of the duo in the Indian squad is under doubt as the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari are waiting for their chances to excel with the bat in Test cricket.
Meanwhile, Sourav Ganguly has stated that Rahane and Pujara will go back to the Ranji Trophy, and urged them to score a lot of runs in domestic cricket. The BCCI president further added that after playing so many years in international cricket, there is no problem in going back to play the Ranji Trophy. in 2005, after facing drought for runs, Ganguly had gone back to play Ranji Trophy, and the southpaw returned to the India squad after amassing plenty of runs in the domestic tournament.
"Yeah, they are very good players. Hopefully, they will go back to Ranji Trophy and score a lot of runs, which I am sure they will. I don’t see any problem [for them to go back to domestic cricket after playing so much international cricket]. Ranji Trophy is a huge tournament, and we have all played the tournament," Ganguly told Sportstar.
"So, they, too, will go back there and perform. They have played the tournament in the past when they were only playing Test cricket and were not part of the ODI or limited-overs team. So, that won’t be a problem," he added.
This season, Ranji Trophy will be played in two phases due to the pandemic situation in India. The first phase will start later this month, and the knockouts will be played after the conclusion of the IPL 2022. Ganguly stated it was a challenge to organize the tournament, but considering the importance of domestic tournaments in India, the BCCI have gone forward with it.
"Obviously, we missed one year of Ranji Trophy – the 2020-21 season. It is the most important tournament in India, and we always wanted to organise it. But what the world has seen in the last two years, I don’t think it has happened in anybody's lifetime. So keeping all these things in mind, it was actually a challenge to organise any tournament," added the BCCI chief.
"We organised the Cooch Behar Trophy and there came the third wave. On the first day itself, 50 players contracted the virus. So, it is not easy. But we are lucky that we can still conduct tournaments. We still have our fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly," he added.