'Not my job. Speak to the selectors about what they have in mind': Kohli weighs in on Rahane, Pujara's Test future
- Questions were raised on the places of senior players Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the XI, courtesy of their prolonged struggles in the longest format of the game.
Team India faced a seven-wicket defeat in the third and final Test of the series against South Africa, conceding a 2-1 series defeat. Resuming their 212-run chase on Day 4 of the Test, the Proteas reached the target shortly after the second session with relative ease, as India's wait for a maiden Test series victory on South African soil continued. This tour was touted as India's best chance to end a winless Test series streak in South Africa, and the Virat Kohli-led side would rue the missed opportunity despite registering a comfortable victory in the opening game in Centurion.
While India produced a valiant effort with the ball, the batting performances did let the side down on multiple occasions throughout the series. Questions were also raised on the places of senior players Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the XI, courtesy of their prolonged struggles in the longest format of the game.
In the final Test of the series, Pujara (43 & 9) and Rahane (9 & 1) failed to make a mark, which added to the speculations over their future in the Test team. Indian Test captain Virat Kohli opened up on the situation surrounding the two batters in the post-match press conference.
“Obviously the batting.. it has let us down in the last two games when we needed to step up. And there is no running away from that,” Kohli said.
“I can't sit here and talk about what's going to happen in the future (on question about the future of Rahane and Pujara). That's not for me to sit here and discuss. You would probably have to speak to selectors on what they have in mind because this is not my job. As I said before and I will say again, we will continue to back Cheteshwar and Ajinkya because of the kind of players they are and what they've done in Test cricket in India over the years.”
Kohli also insisted that the two played “crucial knocks” in the second Test and the team management recognizes those contributions.
“They played crucial knocks in the second Test as well. You saw that partnership in the second innings which got us to a total that we could fight for. These are the kind of performances we recognize as a team. What the selectors have in mind or what they decide to do, I cannot comment on that at this moment, sitting here,” said the Indian captain.