'He is pretty fortunate that he's still part of this side': Gambhir wants senior Indian batsman to make most of NZ Tests

In the last 15 Tests, Rahane amassed 644 runs at an average of 24.76. While the tally does include that magnificent match-winning hundred in Melbourne last December, he has been struggling to live up to the expectations since the knock
Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir
Updated on Nov 23, 2021 10:05 AM IST
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Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Sunday admitted that stand-in skipper for the impending opener against New Zealand in Kanpur on November 25, Ajinkya Rahane, is "pretty fortunate" to be still part of the Indian squad because he is the captain. Gambhir also hopes that the senior batsman makes the most of the Test series to once again cement his place in the squad.

In the last 15 Tests, Rahane amassed 644 runs at an average of 24.76. While the tally does include that magnificent match-winning hundred in Melbourne last December, he has been struggling to live up to the expectations since the knock. The struggle is highlighted by his career average falling below 40 for the first time since November 25, 2015, eight days before his back-to-back centuries against South Africa in New Delhi.

Gambhir's comment came during Star Sports' show 'Game Plan', where he picked Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul to open in the first Test while slotting in Shubman Gill at No.4.

ALSO READ: 'There was question about him being selected': Ex-India opener questions decision to name Rahane captain against NZ

"I am going to open with Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul because he opened in England and then probably Shubman Gill will bat at No. 4."That's what I would want to see and plus Rahane is pretty fortunate that he's still part of this side because he's leading... But again he's got another opportunity now, hopefully, he can make that count," Gambhir said.

Gambhir isn't the only one question Rahane's place in the squad. Earlier this month, former cricketer Aakash Chopra questioned the decision to name Rahane the captain for the opener, admitting that his place in the squad was itself a big question.

"You have picked Ajinkya Rahane as the captain. But the truth is also that, let's be honest, there was a question about him being selected for the last Test against England if the match had happened," he said on his YouTube channel.

"As much as I like Ajinkya Rahane, the fact is that the average has been seen falling down only. There has been an odd good knock in between for sure but the average has fallen 20 points in the last two years. Rahane's average has never gone so low."

The Test series will mark the beginning of the second cycle of the World Test Championship with New Zealand beginning their title-defence campaign against the side they faced in the final of the inaugural season in Southampton earlier in June.

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