Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has said that he will not give Ajinkya Rahane another chance or innings in Test cricket after continuous failures and having analyzed his game over the past 2-3 years, said that the veteran needed to go back to domestic FC cricket.
Is it the end of the 'long rope' for Ajinkya Rahane? The veteran Indian batsman was disappointing in both innings of the third Test against South Africa, leaving many fans and experts reiterating the need for a change.
Also, the rise of Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, and Hanuma Vihari has put immense pressure on the likes of Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara who are struggling to score big runs. Pujara has not made a Test century since 2019 and Rahane has scored just one since 2019, in MCG in the 2020 Test.
A half-century for Rahane in the second innings of the second Test seemed to have earned him a lifeline but the 33-year-old failed to carry that momentum forward in the Cape Town Test. Manjrekar said that for Rahane to return to the Indian team, he needs to get some runs under his belt by playing domestic cricket.
“It’s (his dismissal) a combination of good delivery and Ajinkya Rahane’s form. He needs to go back and play first-class cricket and hopefully get his mojo back. I would not give Rahane another innings. Pujara has a stronger case in my book. Nothing about Rahane in the last 3-4 years gives me hope that he is coming back into form. There have been glimmers when he got a hundred in Melbourne. But, apart from that, nothing much,” he said.
In Tests since the start of 2021, Rahane has played a total of 27 innings, scoring 547 runs, with the highest being 67. These runs have come at a poor average of 20.25. Rahane's career average, on the other hand, stands at 38.52.
Former South Africa cricketer Daryll Cullinan also felt it's the lack of footwork that has been exposing the veteran batsman's deficiencies.
“Again there was no foot movement. Perhaps he is intimidated by the bounce and the sideways movement. He has occupied that position now (for a long time). He must be on the list. I am not convinced about (Mayank) Agarwal. They are the two (facing the ax), if I was Rahul Dravid, looking at batsmen to play abroad. If he’s honest with himself, he might be thinking it’s the end of the road (for Rahane). There’s some young exciting talent which now deserves a run,” he added.
India is struggling to stay in the game in the series-deciding third Test as South Africa will resume day four on 101/2 chasing 212 for victory.