Cape Town: Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has come down hard on India’s middle order.
The batting pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane fell in quick succession in India’s second innings on day three again of the final Test against South Africa. Gavaskar optioned that both the senior batters to be dropped for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
The batting duo failed to live up to the expectations once again in the ongoing Test series against South Africa, which has put their place in the team under scanner. In the second innings of the series, Pujara was dismissed on nine, while Rahane managed to score just one.
Sunil Gavaskar, who had earlier backed the duo to come good has now felt that their places will be up for grabs in the Sri Lanka series. The veteran believes Shreyas Iyer to be a good replacement for Ajinkya Rahane. With Iyer scoring a century in his maiden Test against New Zealand in November, is knocking heavily on the doors of the Test team.
“I think that not just Ajinkya Rahane (will be out of the team). Shreyas Iyer got an opportunity in the Test series against New Zealand and he scored a well-crafted century. He scored decent runs throughout the series, so I believe there will be two vacant places in the XI,” Sunil Gavaskar said while commentating.
On the other hand, Sunil Gavaskar backed Hanuma Vihari to take up the No.3 role in place of Cheteshwar Pujara. He felt that Vihari, who made 20 and an unbeaten 40 in the second Test at the Wanderers, deserves to get the backing from the management.
“I think both Pujara and Rahane will be dropped from the team for the Sri Lanka series. Iyer and Vihari will both play. We’ll have to see who plays at no.3. Hanuma Vihari may take Pujara’s place and Shreyas Iyer could be no.5 in place of Rahane, but we will have to see. Nevertheless, I think there will certainly be two spots up for grabs against Sri Lanka,” Gavaskar added.
India are scheduled to play a three-match Test series against Sri Lanka on home soil in March.
Talking about the final Test against South Africa, India managed just 198 runs in their second innings thanks to Rishabh Pant’s 100* and set South Africa 212 runs to win. The hosts ended day 3 on 101/2.