'Things are changing': Ex-IND player feels senior batter will not be in XI due to Rahul's elevation as Test vice-captain

Published on Dec 21, 2021 07:34 AM IST

The BCCI named Rahul as the vice-captain after Rohit Sharma, who was named as new deputy to Virat Kohli in Tests, was ruled out of the series owing to a hamstring injury.

KL Rahul(Getty)
KL Rahul(Getty)

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra on Monday opined that things are changing in Indian cricket, reacting to the elevation of KL Rahul as the vice-captain of the Indian Test team and what it implies for the playing XI for the impending Test series against South Africa.

The BCCI named Rahul as the vice-captain after Rohit Sharma, who was named as new deputy to Virat Kohli in Tests, was ruled out of the series owing to a hamstring injury.

Chopra, while speaking on the topic on his YouTube channel, said that Rahul's elevation implies that Ajinkya Rahane would find it difficult to make the XI for the South Africa Test series.

“KL Rahul has been appointed as India’s Test vice-captain (for the South Africa series) as Rohit Sharma is injured. Rahul Dravid is the coach, Rohit is the captain of white-ball formats,” said Aakash Chopra in a video shared on Koo. 

IND vs SA: How India's openers have fared in previous Test series against South Africa

“I think Rahul may be appointed vice-captain in ODIs also. Ajinkya Rahane might find it difficult to find a place in the XI. He was captain just a couple of Test matches ago but right now he’s not even the vice-captain. Things are changing in Indian cricket."

Rahane has been struggling with the bat in the format, averaging less than 25 in his last 16 Tests which does include that marvellous century in Melbourne last December.

His knocks of 35 and 4 in the opening Test against New Zealand earlier this month saw his career batting average drop to 39.01, the lowest he has recorded since February 2014. 

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Rahul, on the other hand, made an impressive return to Test cricket, scoring 315 runs in the four Tests he played in England earlier this summer. He had however missed the New Zealand series owing to a muscle strain.

If Rahane misses the playing XI, India will be looking at either Hanuma Vihari or Shreyas Iyer for the middle-order role. Vihari had scored three half-century scores for India A in the two unofficial Tests in South Africa earlier this month, while Iyer scored 105 and 65 in the Kanpur Test against New Zealand. 

The three-Test series will begin from December 26 onwards with the opener in Centurion.

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