IND vs NZ: 'Rahane needs to go' - Ex-India player says India batter 'first name in list' to make way for Virat Kohli
- Ajinkya Rahane's disappointing performances with the bat continued in the 1st Test against New Zealand in Kanpur.
Team India will return to action in the second Test of the series against New Zealand in Mumbai. The first match of the series ended in a thrilling draw with the visitors' last batting pair – Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel – surviving India's spin-heavy attack in the final minutes of Day 5 to evade a loss.
While India were in an otherwise comfortable position for a victory, Ajinkya Rahane's form has been a cause of worry for the side. Rahane, who led India in the Kanpur Test, has a meager average of 19.57 across twelve Test matches this year. With Virat Kohli coming back in the second Test, many have called for the exclusion of Rahane in the XI and former Indian opener Aakash Chopra tends to agree.
In his official YouTube channel, Chopra, while replying to a fan's query on whether Kohli should replace Rahane or Cheteshwar Pujara, the former Indian cricketer insisted that Rahane should be going out.
“Pujara has revived himself with performances in Leeds, Oval and Lord's (second innings) for now. He has earned a lease for himself with his runs in England. Rahane, on the other hand, is on a very slippery slope,” Chopra.
“You can't play everyone. He didn't perform in Kanpur across both innings. You need to look at somebody (when Kohli comes into the XI) and the first name in that list is Ajinkya Rahane. If you don't want to drop the openers, Rahane needs to go.”
Chopra further suggested that Kohli could also opt to play four bowlers.
“Alternatively, Kohli can opt to play 4 bowlers instead of five, which would allow all the batters. But it is very unlikely that Kohli will opt for four bowlers because he always finds it more comfortable to go with five bowlers in the XI. So, if I was given a choice, Rahane would go and Iyer would retain his place,” said Chopra.