'He can't play in the first match. Continuity is important': VVS Laxman reveals his India combination for SA Test series

  • Rahane or Iyer? Should Ashwin play? Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman joined the debate to reveal his India combination for the South Africa Test series.
VVS Laxman predicts India's middle-order combination for South Africa Test series
VVS Laxman predicts India's middle-order combination for South Africa Test series
Updated on Dec 07, 2021 09:01 AM IST
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After a successful and a rather dominating win over the defending World Test Champions New Zealand, Team India now shift focus to the impending tour of South Africa where the team will play as many as three Tests starting December 26 at the Centurion. And the ongoing concern pertaining to the new No.1 Test side ahead of the tour is their combination for the South Africa contest and former Indian cricketer VVSL Laxman joined the debate to reveal his India middle-order combination.

One of the major concern about the middle-order has been the form of Ajinkya Rahane. In his last 16 Tests, the veteran batsman has averaged only 24.39, which includes his marvellous century against Australia in Melbourne last December. The tally also includes his scores of 35 and 4 in the Kanpur Test against New Zealand last week which saw his career batting average fall to 39.01, the lowest he had recorded since February 2014.

Laxman, in conversation with Star Sports on the South Africa tour, opined that Rahane cannot play the first match against South Africa and backed the young Shreyas Iyer to replace him.

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"According to me, Ajinkya Rahane cannot play in the first match. Continuity is very important, so I will play Shreyas Iyer because if you give someone two Test matches and the way he batted on debut under pressure," he said.

Iyer, who made his Test in the Kanpur game, scored 105 and 65, both under pressure to revive India after a top-order failure. He was awarded the Man of the Match trophy for his valiant effort on debut.

"He scored a century and a half-century, so I will give that continuity, the confidence that you want to give to a young batsman, I will definitely give that," Laxman added.

The batting legend further predicted that Hanuma Vihari, who was rested from the home series to play for India A in two unofficial Tests in South Africa where he scored back-to-back half-centuries to eke out a draw for the visitors in the second Test, will also be part of the line-up along with Rishabh Pant as wicketkeeper-batsman at No.6.

"I will definitely include Hanuma Vihari in the squad because with what combination does Virat Kohli play. We have seen that top five will be batters, Rishabh Pant at No.6 as a wicketkeeper-batsman," he said.

Laxman further predicted the bowling combination as well, picking Ravindra Jadeja as the all-rounder, followed by three pacers and veteran spinner R Ashwin.

"Jadeja can play as an all-rounder because he performs with the bat as well and you can't take Jadeja lightly as a batsman anymore, even in overseas conditions. So Jadeja will be at No.7 and after that, four bowlers - three fast bowlers and Ravichandran Ashwin. So this will be the combination."

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Monday, January 17, 2022