Ajinkya Rahane

Ravi Shastri takes on the experts who criticised Team India's performance

[caption id="attachment_62514" align="aligncenter" width="580"]DU-EJBXV4AALn6I India skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle against South Africa. Image Source: ICC[/caption]

Internet Desk: After facing two back to back loss in the test series against South Africa, India have bounced back in style by winning the final Test at the Wanderers wicket which was rated as poor by the ICC. The Men in Blue again proved that their come back was not just a fluke as they won the first ODI at Kingsmead, Durban by 6 wickets to take an 1-0 lead in the six-match ODI series. It was also their very first win at the venue. While talking to TOI, Indian cricket team’s head coach Ravi Shastri took a dig at the critics and explained everything about the team management’s decisions which were under scanner during the test series.

On being asked about the decision of playing Rohit Sharma ahead of Ajinkya Rahane in the first two Test matches Shastri said that Sharma had better average than Rahane in 2017.“Right from the beginning, there was no doubt in the mind of the team management that Rohit was the batsman in form while Ajinkya was struggling, not just on the field but in the nets too. Rohit was averaging more than 200 in Tests and had scored around 1200-odd runs in ODIs. So, what does the team tell him? Your runs don’t matter because that’s how it works?,” Shastri said.

As per Shastri the decision was taken on the performance by the two batsmen in 2017. “Performances count and that makes this whole talking point a no-brainer. We all know what Ajinkya is capable of, but before coming here, he was averaging about 30 all through 2017,” he said.

The Indian cricket team coach further talked about Jasprit Bumrah’s debut in Tests against the Proteas and according to him the decision was proved right after he took a five-for in Johannesburg. “Bumrah was our surprise package coming here and did it work? Of course. Tell me the last time a bowler has delivered so confidently on debut and has been learning so quickly. He was among the most consistent. In Cape Town, he bowled us back into the Test from where we could have won. In Johannesburg, he was simply intimidating,” Shastri said.

Shastri further added the team set up was taken on the basis of net practice sessions and hence Rahane was brought back into the side. “That’s why I’m saying, where are the experts now? What chopping and changing? Sometime during the Centurion Test, Ajinkya was getting back into his rhythm. He was knocking well in the nets and Rohit was struggling, so we decided to do whatever looked better at that point in time and Ajinkya was in the eleven. And he scored at the Wanderers,” Shastri said.

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