‘Even Virat Kohli has similar numbers’ – Ashish Nehra backs Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara over poor run of form

Nehra also urged the Indian team management to show adequate faith on Pujara and Rahane.

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Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Former fast bowler Ashish Nehra didn’t mince words in saying that Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara’s positions in the Indian Test team shouldn’t be questioned. Both Pujara and Rahane have come under fire of late due to their inconsistent run of form at the highest level.

Even as India are leading the Test series against South Africa 1-0, Rahane and Pujara are yet to find their mojo. In the second Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, Pujara scored a pain-staking 33-ball three in India’s first innings while Rahane bagged a golden duck.

Fast bowler Duanne Olivier, who replaced Wiaan Mulder for the Test, accounted for the wickets of both batters. Nehra also mentioned that Pujara and Rahane’s numbers aren’t overly worse if compared to Test skipper Virat Kohli’s tally.

Changing players in the middle of a series is a big decision, says Ashish Nehra

“Even Virat Kohli has similar numbers but people are not questioning his place in the team. Obviously, he is the captain and what Kohli has done is on a completely different level from the two batters we are talking about. It is not fair to compare, but Rahane and Pujara have also been second to none at their peak, especially the latter,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz.

Moreover, Nehra urged the Indian team management to show adequate faith on Pujara and Rahane instead of chopping and changing in the middle of a high-profile series.

“If you have backed a player like Rahane for the 1st Test, it would be better to carry on with him for the rest of the series. Obviously, Rahane was the one who was out (officially due to injury) when Kohli came back for the second Test against New Zealand, though he led the team in the first,” he stated.

“Agreed, both Pujara and Rahane have been in big trouble of late. But changing players in the middle of an important series is a big decision,” Nehra added.

At the close of play on Day one of the second Test, India have found themselves in a bit of strife as the hosts are trailing by 167 runs with nine wickets in hand. KL Rahul and Ravi Ashwin got scores of 50 and 46 respectively, but the other batters couldn’t put up much of a fight.

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