'Pujara and Rahane have been as bad as each other. Would leave them both out': Harmison wants another debutant for India

  • Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison has weighed in on India's potential team combination for the second New Zealand Test, and said that if it was up to him, he would drop both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane from the Playing XI.
Steve Harmison feels both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara must be dropped for the Mumbai Test. (Getty)
Steve Harmison feels both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara must be dropped for the Mumbai Test. (Getty)
Updated on Dec 02, 2021 06:30 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison has weighed in on India's potential team combination for the second New Zealand Test, and said that if it was up to him, he would drop both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane from the XI. The second match of the series, which starts from Friday in Mumbai, will see the return of Virat Kohli, which means one of the middle- batters would have to make way.

\With Shreyas Iyer scoring a sensational century and fifty on debut, ideally he should not be dropped. The one to get dropped could be anyone – Rahane, Pujara or even Mayank Agarwal. However, Harmison has suggested a total of three changes for India, including a Test debut for Suryakumar Yadav.

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"I think they both make way, there's lots of questions about Rahane and Pujara, they both might make way. I think Suryakumar Yadav, he plays in Mumbai for Mumbai Indians. He was brought into the squad as a replacement for KL Rahul, I think they both [Rahane and Pujara] looked as if they were done, they both walked off the field in that first innings as I they knew it may be the last time they walk off the field for India," the former England pacer said on his YouTube channel while answering questions.

"Pujara especially, 39 innings without a hundred is a long time for a player to bat in the top six and still warrant a place in that great Indian side. There’s a lot of players missing at the moment and you might just see another debutant or player who hasn’t played a lot of international cricket.

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"If you leave one out, I'd leave both out as they’ve both been as bad as each other because you’re definitely going to bring Kohli back into the side. The question is then who do you bat at No.3? I think it’ll be harsh just to leave either of them out, I think it’s time for India to make a change of both of them."

The third change which Harmison is in for is replacing veteran India pacer Ishant Sharma with 27-year-old Mohammed Siraj. Ishant has now gone wicketless in his last two Test matches for India and although Harmison says that both India pacers in Kanpur were 'below-par', the senior pro should be the one making way for Siraj.

"For me both seamers were also below par in the first Test match, for the life of me I don't understand how Ishant Sharma got another game of Test cricket after what he did in England, so for me I would bring [Mohammed] Siraj in for him. The three spinners bowled well enough, so they'll be the only changes I make."

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Friday, January 21, 2022