A defeat in the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town raised questions over India’s playing XI with analysts criticising selection of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma over KL Rahul and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Both Dhawan and Sharma struggled on fast and bouncy tracks on offer and failed to take India to a victory, in spite of the visitors chasing a low total of 208.
With the second Test in Centurion just a few days away, there are speculations that Rahul and Rahane might make a return to the playing XI. Speaking to Times of India in an interview, former wicketkeeping-batsman Kiran More said that India need to strengthen their batting.
“You have to bring Rahane and Rahul back in the playing XI for the next Test. It also depends on whether the team opts for five or six batsmen, but after this Test match, it is certain that India need to strengthen their batting,” he said. While Rohit Sharma’s average in South Africa before the start of the series was 11.25, Rahane averages 69.66 in the country.
More went on to praise India bowlers and said they kept India in the hunt in the first Test. “There couldn’t have been a better way to win a Test after the bowlers did a phenomenal job to bring India back into the game. Another partnership of 50 runs would have sealed the game in India’s favour,” he said.
Speaking on skipper Virat Kohli, the 55-year old said India must show more character in the second Test. “That is the way Virat Kohli is. Everyone has a style of his own. Virat’s aggression on the field doesn’t really affect the morale of the team. The fact of the matter is that we lost the opening Test and need to show more character in the rest of the two Tests to win the series,” he said.
The second Test between India and South Africa in Centurion will start from Saturday.