Virat Kohli has said that the team management will continue to back Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane because of the kind of players they are. However, Kohli also pointed out that the selectors will take a call regarding the future of both batsmen and he is not the right person to talk about it.
India lost the recently concluded three match Test series against South Africa by 2-1. They were aiming to win their maiden Test series in South Africa but the last fixture shattered their dreams. India made a winning start to the series but the hosts bounced back winning the remaining two fixtures.India produced a superb bowling performance but their batting let them down.
Especially, the middle order of the team is failing to build partnerships when required. The form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane remains to be a cause of concern. Pujara scored 43 and 9 in the first innings and the second innings of the Cape Town Test while Rahane scored 9 and 1 run. It is now speculated that both the batsmen might lose their spot in the playing XI for the next Test series against Sri Lanka.
Reflecting on the situation regarding these two batsmen, India captain Virat Kohli has said that they will continue to back both these batsmen but also pointed out that the selectors will take a decision regarding their future and he is not the right person to comment on it.
“I can't sit here and talk about what's going to happen in the future (on question about the future of Rahane and Pujara). That's not for me to sit here and discuss. You would probably have to speak to selectors on what they have in mind because this is not my job. As I said before and I will say again, we will continue to back Cheteshwar and Ajinkya because of the kind of players they are and what they've done in Test cricket in India over the years,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
Ajinkya Rahane and Chetshwar Pujara had scored half-centuries in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test. They helped the team score a total above 200. Kohli said that the two senior batsmen made key contributions for the team in the second Test and the team management recognizes them.
“They played crucial knocks in the second Test as well. You saw that partnership in the second innings which got us to a total that we could fight for. These are the kind of performances we recognize as a team. What the selectors have in mind or what they decide to do, I cannot comment on that at this moment, sitting here,” he stated.
India were supposed to set a target of around 300 as the hosts had two days to go. Also, the conditions for batting were getting better as the game progressed. In spite of this no one except Rishabh Pant had a long stay at the crease. Kohli admitted that the batting has let down the Indian team
“Obviously the batting. It has let us down in the last two games when we needed to step up. And there is no running away from that,” he concluded.