New Delhi: One of India’s most successful captains, Sourav Ganguly, who probably holds the best understanding in terms of what it takes to win overseas, expressed disappointment over Virat Kohli’s selection of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan for the first Test between India and South Africa in Cape Town. As the visitors went on to incur a 72-run defeat, Dada was quick point fingers at the team selection, while also saying that he does not expect many changes will be made in the line-up for the second match.
“History of Rohit Sharma and history of Shikhar Dhawan in overseas conditions are not very good. You look at their records, it’s like chalk and cheese when they go away and when they are in India. So you are basically depending on Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli as the two best performers in overseas conditions,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today.
“Look at Cheteshwar Pujara. His 13 of 14 Test hundreds have come in sub-continent conditions. I keep saying about KL Rahul because he has scored runs in Australia, he has scored runs in West Indies and Sri Lanka. It’s not just about form, it’s also about where people score runs. But let’s not panic too much. I was not surprised by the result. I have tremendous regard for Virat Kohli and we will see an improved performance in the next game,” the 45-year-old added.
Ganguly laid focus on the fact that the playing XI should be selected on the basis of how and where have the players performed or how well they are suited to the current conditions and not entirely on the basis of current form. Kohli had asserted that the team selection – Rohit over Rahane – was due to the fact that the former had gotten runs in the last three Tests in India.
“Well, we decided to go on current form. Rohit has scored runs in the last three Test matches that he has played, and he was batting well, even in the series against Sri Lanka,” Kohli had said in the post-match media conference.
“These things can always be looked at in hindsight – thinking what if or what if not. But we decided to go with this combination and current form was definitely the criterion,” the Indian captain had opined.
Ganguly was also of the belief that the team management will not spring many changes in the playing XI for the second Test and would go for more-or-less the same combination in Centurion.
“I don’t think Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will change the team straightaway. There is a possibility that one of them (Ajinkya Rahane or KL Rahul) may come back. It could be Ajinkya Rahane in the middle in place of Rohit Sharma and there’s a possibility of KL Rahul coming at top of the order. India will have to bottle down and fight hard in the batting. The wicket in Centurion will be quick as well. It will have a lot more bounce than Cape Town. It may not seam as much as Cape Town but it will be lot quicker,” said the former Indain left-handed batsman.
Ganguly also said that he would want Rahul to replace Dhawan in the opening slot and would give Rohit one more opportunity in the middle-order, while also admitting that he wouldn’t want to change the bowling department one bit.
“I would actually play five bowlers and play KL Rahul in place of Shikhar Dhawan. Rahul because he has done well in overseas conditions. I would give Rohit Sharma one more opportunity. I wouldn’t tinker with the bowling line-up. All the batters have not scored runs. There’s not been a single fifty from the order. You got to put this behind and try and comeback stronger in the next Test. Preparation is important and India have lost a bit there and faced not much of criticism. So India will have to fight their way into the next match.”
Rahane, who might miss out on an opportunity in the 2nd Test too as per Ganguly, had an extremely successful tour of South Africa four years ago. With 209 runs, he was third highest run-getter in the series behind Kohli (272 runs) and Cheteshwar Pujara (280).
Source: Times Now