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Reports: Shikhar Dhawan to be benched in the 2nd Test against South Africa

The only way Ajinkya Rahane will be added to the playing eleven is if they decide to drop Ravi Ashwin, a decision that's unlikely at Centurion.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan of India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After the 72-run loss in the Cape Town Test, the Indian team management would be looking at ways to get the Playing XI combination right for the next Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion. India went in with some bold moves by opting for the young debutant Jasprit Bumrah’s selection over the experienced Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav and benching KL Rahul instead of going in with the duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay; benching Ajinkya Rahane at No. 5 and opting for Rohit Sharma.

These selections remain a topic of discussion and will continue to be until the start of the second Test. However, it is now confirmed that India will go in with at least one change as Karnataka opener Lokesh Rahul – who sat in the first Test – will return to the playing eleven at the Centurion for the second Test match that begins on Saturday.

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The case for Rahul being included in the first Test itself looked justified, given that the 25-year-old was in good touch, barring the last Test match he played in Nagpur. With both Dhawan and Vijay unable to tackle the Protean pace quartet in the first Test,  the team management can be expected to take some stern decisions, according to TOI. Rahul could make his way back at the cost of Dhawan and not Vijay, given that the latter still has an upper hand because of his experience in the conditions in South Africa and especially because the former was sloppy in the field too.

Yet, the debate over picking Rohit Sharma ahead of Ajinkya Rahane is likely to continue because the team is likely to give the former another chance because of the form and runs he carried with him from the home series against Sri Lanka. The only way Rahane, a classic Test match cricketer who deserves a place in the eleven, especially overseas when he averages close to 55, will be added to the playing eleven is if they decide to drop Ravi Ashwin, a decision that’s unlikely at Centurion.

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