Sourav Ganguly warns Virat Kohli, says don’t go by home form in South Africa

Sourav Ganguly has urged Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli to consider the overseas record of someone like Ajinkya Rahane while selecting his side in the South Africa tour

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2018 20:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
South Africa vs India,Ajinkya Rahane,Virat Kohli
Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli dropped Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul in favour of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the Cape Town Test.(Reuters)

When India announced their squad for the first Test against South Africa on Friday, there was one glaring omission in the list. Ajinkya Rahane, who has succeeded in overseas conditions over the last few years, was left out and it didn’t take long for experts to start questioning the move.

The murmur continued to rise with every passing day and with Virat Kohli’s side losing the match by 72 runs, former cricketer Sourav Ganguly believes that Rahane’s past performances should have been considered by the team management before picking the side for the Cape Town Test, which India lost by 72 runs.

“The history of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in overseas conditions is not very good. Their record is basically chalk and cheese when it comes to overseas Tests. It is fine to go by current form, but they should not have overlooked the performances of KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane in overseas conditions in the past few years,” Ganguly told India Today on Tuesday.

Ganguly’s comments were in response to Virat Kohli’s post-match press conference where he defended Rohit Sharma’s inclusion by saying that they looked at his recent performances. Rohit scored a century and two half-centuries in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka at home, which India won 1-0.

“Well, we decided to go on current form. Rohit (Sharma) has scored runs in the last three Test matches that he has played, and he was batting well, even in the series against Sri Lanka,” said Kohli in the post-match media conference.

However, when it comes to overseas form, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have both struggled to perform. Dhawan has scored just one century outside the Indian subcontinent while the Mumbai batsman averages just 25.11 in the 15 Tests he has played outside India. On the other hand, KL Rahul has scored three of his four centuries in overseas conditions while Ajinkya Rahane has been the standout performer for his team with six hundreds and nine fifties in away Tests.

When asked about the possible changes for the second Test in Centurion, Ganguly said that Rahane should make a comeback but he doubts that the team will drop both Dhawan and Rohit.

“Virat (Kohli) has shown a lot of trust in Rohit and Shikhar. It seems highly unlikely that they will not be given a second chance. But, the top order and middle order failed to perform in the first Test and Rahane will be a valuable addition to the line-up,” he said.

South Africa were quite dominant when it came to their bowling performance in the Cape Town Test, but Dale Steyn’s injury was a big blow to the hosts. Steyn’s comeback to Test cricket was cut short on the second day of the opening Test when he landed awkwardly while bowling, injuring his left heel. He’ll be out of action for 4-6 weeks.

But Ganguly believes that Steyn’s absence will not be a problem for Faf du Plessis’ side and all-rounder Chris Morris will be an able replacement for the fast bowler.

“I think that Steyn’s injury is a blessing in disguise for South Africa. With (Chris) Morris coming in, they will have more strength in batting and that will help them in the series,” Ganguly said.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 20:14 IST