He pointed out that Rahane’s form is important not only as a batsman but as the captain of the team from the second Test onwards. Regular Indian skipper Virat Kohli will fly back to India after the first Test to attend the birth of his child.
Aakash Chopra made this observation while reviewing the first day of the India A vs Australia A encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
He started by pointing out that the warm-up matches before the first Test are likely to act as a straight shoot-off between Shubman Gill with Prithvi Shaw for the second opener’s spot.
“India started with two new openers in the warm-up game, Shubman Gill with Prithvi Shaw. It was expected that whoever scores runs will get the chance to open along with Mayank, although there is one more match.”
The renowned commentator observed that the first innings of the practice match did not help India address this dilemma in any way, as both Shaw and Gill were dismissed for ducks.
“But both got out without opening their accounts. When this happens, you don’t know whom to open with, which is a problem.”
Aakash Chopra added that Cheteshwar Pujara being amongst the runs despite playing after a long hiatus was a positive for Team India.
“The good thing is that Cheteshwar Pujara, who was playing after eight months, played 140 deliveries and scored 54 runs. So, well done Cheteshwar. It is enjoyable to see you bat.”
Aakash Chopra pointed out that Ajinkya Rahane’s century in the practice match bailed the India A team out of trouble.
“Ajinkya Rahane scored a century which came at the right time as India was under pressure after losing wickets. He also played around 220 deliveries and it is necessary that Ajinkya remains in form.”
Aakash Chopra added that the Indian Test vice-captain’s form is crucial for the team in more than one way.
“His form is very important for India on multiple counts, one as a batsman and the other as a captain because he will be the capatin after the first game. If the captain does not have personal form, then his confidence is down. When the confidence is high, the Indian team does well. So, these are fantastic signs.”
“Last but not the least, Wriddhiman Saha was the keeper and not Rishabh Pant. So Rishabh Pant’s fans and friends, it seems like even in Test cricket, his number is the second and not the first.”
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that it is unfortunate that India’s first gloveman to have scored a century in both England and Australia in Tests has fallen off the radar in all the formats of the game.
“He is the first Indian keeper who has struck a century in England and Australia but at the moment, he is not in the white-ball team and it seems that in Test cricket as well he is the second option and not the first.”
Although there is another warm-up match remaining, Rishabh Pant’s non-inclusion in the ongoing encounter will certainly be a setback for his aspirations to be a part of the team for the first Test.