India v South Africa, 3rd Test: Ajinkya Rahane could feature at Wanderers

The Indian cricket team has pointed out to the rising possibility that they will recall Ajinkya Rahane for the third and last Test against South Africa, which will be played at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg from 24 January. The move to include Rahane in the squad has come after days of Rahane’s absence and subsequent criticisms from cricket pundits and fans that India’s best Test batsman was heavily needed in South Africa.

Rahane has an impressive Test record in overseas conditions

Ajinkya Rahane is one of the most successful Indian Test batsmen, especially outside the Indian subcontinent, where the alien wicket conditions don’t cease to baffle even the most impressive of Indian batsmen. The supposed-to-be India Test vice-captain, Rahane, was not picked for the first two Tests against South Africa, in Cape Town and Centurion.

In Rahane’s place, the Indian team selection had picked the limited-overs specialist Rohit Sharma. India captain Virat Kohli had said that Rohit Sharma was selected based on a better “current form” than Ajinkya Rahane.


However, Rohit Sharma completely failed to live up to the expectations that the Indian team management had stored in him. In addition, the Indian batting order’s inability to stand ground against the South African pace battery in the first two Tests and subsequent Indian defeat, attracted widespread scrutiny, which resulted in a heated press conference after India had lost the Centurion Test amounting to Test series loss.
And the Indian skipper Kohli along with the team management, did not seem to budge from their stand and the choice of the Indian Test squad, even in the face of repeated thrashing by the Proteas squad and subsequent criticisms in the Indian cricketing circles.
However, Virat Kohli had clarified that although Ajinkya Rahane was not include in the first two Tests, it was not to mean that he would not be include at all. Kohli had assured that team selection is followed by the Indian practice sessions and Rahane had full possibilities to feature in the third.

Expect Ajinkya Rahane in India-South Africa’s Wanderers Test

Although some would say that the decision has come a tad bit late, but if Team India’s Sunday practice session at the Wanderers stadium is to be taken into consideration, there are high chances of Rahane being called back into the Test squad for the now insignificant third Test, starting in Johannesburg on Wednesday (24 January).
At the net practice of Team India, Ajinkya Rahane was seen all padded up at the crease along with Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, as reported by Deccan Chronicle. The practice session could be highly suggestive of India’s middle-order batting line-up in the upcoming third and last Test of the 3-match series.
Following the team’s routine batting and fielding sessions, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane went back into the nets for an extended batting session. It is a no-brainer from here to guess that the Test specialist could well be in store, to face the Proteas pace bowling attack at the Wanderers, to prevent India from facing a complete series whitewash.

India had lost the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs, and then were beaten in the second Test in Centurion by a 135-run margin which resulted in South Africa to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.


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