SA v IND 2021-22: ‘I'm rooting for Pujara, not sure about Rahane’- Aakash Chopra on India’s batting lineup for SA Tests

India to play three Tests in South Africa starting Dec 26.

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to open for India, says Aakash Chopra | GettyFormer India opener Aakash Chopra has opined on the Indian team batting lineup for the upcoming three-Test series in South Africa which begins on December 26 onwards. He talked about which players might make it into the playing XI and which may have to sit out.

The BCCI recently announced the 18-member India squad for the three-Test series in South Africa which saw Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane retaining their places in the squad, with Shreyas Iyer being added to the mix.

While Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are back in the team after missing the two Tests against New Zealand, the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, and Axar Patel were not available for selection due to injuries and are currently undergoing rehabilitation.

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Aakash Chopra said that Rohit and Rahul will continue to open the innings for India despite Mayank Agarwal's batting masterclass against New Zealand in the second Test.

"The duo of R-R (Rohit and Rahul). Mayank Agarwal has certainly raised his stocks but he'll have to wait. Rohit and Rahul will continue as they did extremely well in England. I hope that they'll do well. If you want to win the series in South Africa, the openers will be key. There are some issues in the middle-order which are likely to remain. But, if the openers do well, India's job will get much easier," Chopra replied during a Q&A session on his YouTube channel.

Chopra opined on Rahane and Pujara's spots in playing XI for SA Tests | APWhile Rahane and Pujara managed to hold onto their spots in the squad, Chopra rooted for Pujara to keep his no.3 spot in the playing XI, but wasn't quite sure of Rahane at no.5, thanks to Shreyas Iyer's stupendous Test debut against New Zealand.

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He said: "Cheteshwar Pujara will retain his spot in the playing XI. If you look at some his recent knocks, he has scored some runs. I'm rooting for Cheteshwar Pujara. I'm not sure about Ajinkya Rahane. If Virat Kohli decides to go with the same composition -- 5 batters, 5 bowlers and a wicketkeeper in Pant -- i don't see Rahane in the playing XI. I don't think we can drop Shreyas Iyer. I'm also considering Hanuma Vihari. I'll choose performance over reputation at this moment.”

The first Test will be played in Centurion from December 26th followed by Tests at the Wanderers and Newlands.

India's Test squad:

Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj


By Jatin Sharma - 09 Dec, 2021

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