The former Indian captain and skipper Sourav Ganguly advised India captain Virat Kohli to keep on his faith in the current batting line-up and refrain toying with team combination. After India’s defeat in the first Test in Cape Town, the team management’s decision to stick with Rohit Sharma while not selecting Ajinkya Rahane has come under huge criticism as Rahane has an extraordinary overseas record. Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, just made 21 runs across the two innings in Cape Town Test as India lost to a 72-run defeat on the fourth day of the test.
The openers came under questions due to poor performances, especially Shikhar Dhawan who was out in both innings in the same manner, and there are inside stories going that he might get replaced by KL Rahul in the second Test. Ganguly suggested in his column for TOI that Indian team should not make any changes for the second Test which begins from Saturday in Centurion. “Virat Kohli should not worry about such things [team combination]. Although KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane have a good history of scoring runs away from the sub-continent and have better records as batsmen, India can’t just chop-and-change in every game. They have shown faith in the current batting and that should continue to the next Test as well. They still have two more Tests to play and I feel all the matches will produce results,” Ganguly said.
The former captain also appreciated the five-bowler strategy, adding that the reason India came close to securing a win in Newlands was that of their ability to take 20 wickets which will carry on to do the same in the upcoming matches. The former captain observed that “There has been a lot of talk about the combination. India did the right thing by going in with five bowlers. As much as scoring runs is important in a bid to win Test matches, getting wickets is also key. The reason why we were thinking of an Indian win at some point is because the bowlers got 20 wickets and that will continue to be important criteria over the next two Tests”.
Ganguly also had some great words for Hardik Pandya as he was impressed with the 24-year-old’s performance. He also added that India’s batting performance as a unit needs to be improved. “Hardik Pandya came good with the bat and India should persist with him. The problem lies with the overall batting performance, and this has to be fixed soon. There will be lot of talk about players who were not in the playing eleven. That’s always the case when you lose,” Ganguly said. The former Indian skipper also praised the tough contest in the first Test produced saying it was an equal battle between the bat and ball.
“The first match between South Africa and India was a great exhibition of Test cricket where the ball dominated the bat. The great part about the surface was that even on the fourth day the bowlers were in the game. I have played on the Newland pitch and at some stage of the game the conditions always got better for batting. This, however, was not the case in the first Test,” he added.