Virat Kohli has insisted Ajinkya Rahane’s form must not be judged by anyone, including himself, as the team prepares for the tour to South Africa this month.
Rahane has seen a slump in form of late and has averaged only 24.39 in his last 16 test matches, prompting speculation over his form and place in the team.
Last week, during the first Test against New Zealand, scores of 35 and 4 saw Rahane’s batting average fall to 39.01 – the lowest it’s ever been since February 2014.
Speaking at a press conference, the Indian skipper answered some tricky questions about Rahane and also touched upon the upcoming South Africa tour.
Virat Kohli said
“I can’t judge Ajnkya’s form,”For that matter, no one can judge anyone’s form.”. Because only the player himself understands what aspects of his game he needs to improve.”
The national team captain went on to insist that it is important to back players who have put in an impactful performance in past games and bailed the team out of a difficult situation. He added that the team does not believe in pressuring a player to think about “what next” if they find themselves in an under-fire situation.
Kohli admitted that the team cannot expect outsiders to understand the delicate balance between praising a player when they are performing at the highest level and calling for their head when they’re struggling on the field.
“Be it Ajinkya or whoever. “We will never make decisions depending on the outside environment,” he continued.
Kohli did, however, go on to hint at a discussion that would take place with the management and team selectors ahead of the South Africa series. He admitted that it is a good headache to have – being able to pick and choose between different players for the same position, but added that they will require clarity on the situation before the series.
Shreyas Iyer was handed his Test debut in Kanpur, and turned up with excellent scores of 105 and 65, giving the Indian team selectors another option to consider. Shubham Gill and Hanuman Vihari are also alternatives the selectors might consider if Rahane is to be given a break from his duties at the top of the order.
“That’s a discussion that needs to take place: who we think are specialists in certain positions,” Kohli concluded. “These are not things I can sit here and answer in a press conference. “You need to have discussions about these things, analyse what is best for the team and for individuals, and come to a consensus.” “Most of the time, concerns are discussed and a group conclusion is reached that feels the most balanced.”. That is the same procedure we will pursue in the future. It is based on lengthy discussions in which everyone contributes their thoughts.”