Veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh feels that if Ajinkya Rahane fails to score runs in the upcoming Test series against New Zealand, he might find himself in trouble.
Ajinkya Rahane will lead Team India in the first match against New Zealand in Kanpur in Virat Kohli's absence. There will be added pressure on the Mumbai batter as his consistency with the bat of late has been a cause of concern for the team.
After scoring a match-winning hundred against Australia in Melbourne Test, the Indian Test vice-captain has been going through a lean phase and has scored just 372 runs in eleven Tests at an underwhelming average of 19.57 to go with one fifty-plus score.
While reviewing the first Test in a video on Sportskeeda, Harbhajan Singh expressed concerns over Ajinkya Rahane’s form in Test cricket, saying that the right-handed batter is an excellent cricketer but his performance hasn’t backed him.
He added that it’s good to see that Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid believe that Rahane should be in the team.
"There's no Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma has opted to rest himself. Then there's Ajinkya Rahane; we were wondering whether he'll be in the team or not. But he has been handed the captaincy (for the first Test).
His last 11 matches haven't gone too well as he is averaging just 19 (19.58). He is a brilliant cricketer but his performance hasn't quite backed him. But it's also good to see the thinking of Rohit, Virat, and Rahul Dravid as they believe that Rahane should be in the team,” Harbhajan Singh said.
Harbhajan remarked that if Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t score runs in the Test series against New Zealand, his place in the team will be under scanner as players are waiting in line.
“Now that he has been given the captaincy, I hope he takes the team forward and also scores runs with the bat so we can see him playing for a little more. If he doesn't score runs, the queue (of players waiting in the ranks) behind him is very long. There's Suryakumar Yadav among others waiting in line,” he said.
Singh pointed out that the Test series against New Zealand is the kind of new season for Team India and they must start well and move forward by playing good cricket.
"The England Tour went very well for the team and then the final Test match did not happen. After that, a lot of T20 cricket was played, be it IPL  or the T20 World Cup. So, this is kind of a new season because this is the first Test match we are playing at home (after a long time).
"It will be important how India start against New Zealand because they are a strong side in India as well. I hope to see good cricket pitches in India and the Indian team move forward by playing good cricket," he concluded.
The two-Test series between India and New Zealand will kick start from tomorrow (25th November) in Kanpur. The second game will be played in Mumbai from 3rd December.