When the Indian squad was announced for the first Test against South Africa, fans were not happy with the selectors’ decision to choose Rohit Sharma over team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. After India’s 72-run loss to South Africa in the first Test, the question about Rahane’s selection was revisited as Rohit could not deliver for the team. Even South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was also left surprised with Rohit’s inclusion. However, ahead of the second Test, South African fast bowling great Allan Donald on Thursday said that it will be foolish for India to make changes in their playing XI now despite all the commotion over player selection.
“In my opinion, it would be foolish now to make changes. That’s the selectors’ decision again. But again, South Africans see Rahane sitting on the bench and carrying drinks and they would say ‘wow’,” Donald was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying.
While Donald also mentioned that it would be harsh to keep Rahane out of the playing XI, he further mentioned that Rohit has come to South Africa in great form and that he is a world-class player.
“I really think it’s harsh to keep Rahane out. Last time he was here he had a great tour. I think for me, Rahane is the man who can steady the ship. He is a rock-solid guy and a good head on his shoulders,” the South Africa bowling legend added.
“Rohit Sharma is coming to South Africa in serious form. He played a real sloppy shot to get out. He is gifted technically. Technically, South Africa have really exposed Rohit but again he is a world-class player,” Donald remarked.
However India captain Virat Kohli, after the first Test, had defended the team selection saying that Rohit was picked over Rahane based on current form.
“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,” he said.
“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,” added Kohli.
Rahane, who has not been amongst the runs of late, had a successful tour of South Africa four years ago. With 209 runs, he was third highest run-getter in the series behind Cheteshwar Pujara (280) and Kohli (272 runs).