Ajinkya Rahane is most likely going to return to the team India XI against Bangladesh in the one-off Test that begins on February 9 in Hyderabad with Karun Nair set to warm the bench in the process. The decision might be a disappointing one for Nair considering he comes into the Test on the back of scoring an unbeaten 303 against England in the fifth and final Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. It was only the second 300 run knock by an Indian batsman and the first since Virender Sehwag’s 319 against South Africa in 2008.
In the press conference in the run up to the Test match, India coach Anil Kumble said on Tuesday, “We still haven’t thought about the combination but it is nice that Karun took his opportunity and did what he did in Chennai,” Kumble said. “It is fantastic for a young cricketer to come in and score a triple-hundred. But we know what Ajinkya has done for this team. Ajinkya’s performances have been phenomenal across conditions. It is nice that somebody who came in to replace Ajinkya because of the injury in Mumbai, took three or four innings and was able to score a three-hundred. It’s nice to have to have that kind of contribution and that kind of ability from the youngsters,” he added.
Rahane had been forced to sit out of the last two Tests of the series owing to a finger injury and Nair made the most of the opportunity that came his way. But, for now, he won’t get an automatic entry into the team if the team are to maintain their five bowlers combination.
On Wednesday, skipper Virat Kohli also put his weight behind Rahane and made it all but certain that Rahane would return to the team. “Ajinkya Rahane has done enough in 2-3 years to walk into XI when fit. Probably our best batsman in this format,” he stated.