Can't drop someone who scored century on Test debut, Rahane will have to make way for Kohli in second Test: Daniel Vettori

Can’t drop someone who scored century on Test debut, Rahane will have to make way for Kohli in second Test: Daniel Vettori

Rahane has averaged below 25 in Tests in 2021.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori feels that Ajinkya Rahane will have to make way for Virat Kohli in the second Test against New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, starting from December 3.

Rahane has endured a lean patch in the longest format, averaging below 25 in 2021, and was unable to change that in Kanpur Test, while standing in for skipper Kohli, who has been rested. Rahane scored 35 off 63 in the first innings but failed to convert that start into an innings of substance as he chopped on a Kyle Jamieson delivery onto his stumps, whereas he was trapped lbw by spinner Ajaz Patel in the second innings for just 4 to extend his rut.

Vettori reckoned even if Rahane is dropped for the Mumbai Test upon Kohli’s return, it would not be a full-stop to his Test career, but he opined against sitting out Shreyas Iyer, who smashed a century on debut to become the 16th India to achieve the feat.

“I still think Rahane is still a solid player. He looks like he wants to be aggressive; the way he is playing doesn’t feel tentative. but he is getting out. In a lot of ways, being dropped and having the ability to come back and resettle everything as a batsman, particularly at the Test level, can weigh you down,” Vettori told ESPNcricinfo.

“If they [Indian team management] leave him out of the next Test match, I don’t think it will be a death-knell for his career; it will just be a one-Test dropping, because it just resets everything, gives him a chance to go back and do a bit of work.

“I think it’s hard to drop someone [Iyer] who has scored a century on Test debut against a quality side. So, it will probably be Rahane who will make way [for Kohli],” he added.

It’s tricky to drop Ajinkya Rahane: Wasim Jaffer

Vettori’s co-panellist and former India opener Wasim Jaffer stated that Rahane would be disappointed for not being able to capitalise on his start in the first innings but termed the call to drop him for Kohli as a “tricky” one, especially because he led the team in his absence.

“He would be more upset with the start he got in the first innings and [he] did not convert it into a big one, because [in] the second innings, anytime when you bat on the day-four or day-five wickets, it is hard work. But the first innings, when the conditions were good for batting, that’s where I think he would be upset for not getting a big score,” Jaffer said.

“It’s going to be a big question, ‘who goes out when Virat Kohli comes in’, and what kind of combination India goes with, because Mayank [Agarwal] has not got runs, Ajinkya [Rahane] has not got runs, [Cheteshwar] Pujara has not got runs.”

On being asked whether India will take the call of dropping Rahane, Jaffer jokingly responded: “In India, when the batsman is out of form, the bowler sits out. So, you might see four bowlers playing in Wankhede. It’s tricky to drop a player who captained the team in the first Test, you will think twice before dropping him in the second,” Jaffer added.