India’s Middle-Order: Rahane & Pujara’s Experience Brings the Missing Element

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As Rahane & Pujara have been overlooked for India’s squad for South Africa, there aren’t many players in middle-order, who could deliver for the team.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were not included in India’s squad for South Africa, and that comes as a major surprise, not only for the players, but the fans as well. While they might not boast of the best career averages in South Africa, but the BCCI might have just missed the trick, considering their wealth of experience in SENA countries, where traditionally Indian batsmen have struggled.

After the Fab Four (Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid & VVS Laxman) bid adieu to international cricket, it was Rahane and Pujara who were the backbone of the Indian middle-order and had been around for over a decade. They had proven their worth not only in India but all over the world.

Player Tests Average 100s
Ajinkya Rahane 85 38.46 12
Cheteshwar Pujara 103 43.60 19

Rahane-Pujara & Others from Current Team in South Africa

In the current Indian squad there is only Virat Kohli in the middle-order, who has some experience of playing in South Africa and a decent record too. KL Rahul, although has played five Tests there, but his returns are poor. He has only scored 256 runs in 10 innings, despite having a ton and a fifty under his name. Whereas, the other option, Shreyas Iyer has never played a Test there and could be exposed with some short-pitch bowling. That is why someone like Rahane and Pujara were needed in South Africa, who can bring a lot more stability in the setup. Ravindra Jadeja too, in South Africa cannot be banked upon. Ishan Kishan is a newbie, with two Tests under his belt.

Player Runs in SA Average 100/50
Virat Kohli 719 51.35 2/3
Ajinkya Rahane 402 36.54 0/3
KL Rahul 256 25.60 1/1
Ravindra Jadeja 8 4 0/0
Cheteshwar Pujara 535 28.10 1/1
Shreyas Iyer NA NA NA
Ishan Kishan NA NA NA
Comparison of the current crop of players for performance in SA.

While Rahane and Pujara haven’t done excessively well, one might argue, but they have the wealth of experience, temperament, and the shots to be of some worth to Team India in South Africa. If not together in a Test, they could have contributed immensely in lifting the team in crunch situations separately. Their stats are of hardly much value here since, the players who are selected in the middle-order, haven’t fared better than Rahane and Pujara, or even up to their level.

Also Read

India Squad for South Africa: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami*, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna.

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