Who should open batting for India in South Africa? Aakash Chopra Solutions
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Monday an 18-man roster for India's upcoming three-game test series against South Africa beginning December 26th. While Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are back on the team after missing the two New Zealand Tests, Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill and Axar Patel were not eligible due to injuries and are currently undergoing rehabilitation. With Rohit, who was named vice-captain of the test team, and Rahul back on the team, there was a lot of talk about India's opening combination.
When asked who should open the batting for India in South Africa, former batsman Aakash Chopra said that Rohit and Rahul will continue to open the innings for India despite Mayank Agarwal's batting mastery class against New Zealand in the second Test.
"The duo of RR (Rohit and Rahul). Mayank Agarwal has certainly increased his stocks but he will have to wait. Rohit and Rahul will continue as they did extremely well in England. I hope they will do well", Chopra responded during a question-and-answer session on his YouTube channel.
"If you want to win the series in South Africa, the openers will be key. There are some problems in midfield that are likely to remain. But if the openers do well India's job will be a lot easier," he added.
With Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara going through a difficult period in the longest format of the game, Chopra was also asked if the veteran thugs would find a place in the game. To which he replied: "Cheteshwar Pujara will keep his place in the team. If you look at some of his recent strokes, he's got a couple of runs. I'm into Cheteshwar Pujara."
"I'm not sure about Ajinkya Rahane. If Virat Kohli goes for the same composition - 5 bats, 5 bowlers and a wicketkeeper in pant - I don't see Rahane in the XI playing. I don't think we can drop Shreyas Iyer. I'm also thinking about Hanuma Vihari. I'll be choosing performance over reputation right now, "he concluded.
The first test will take place on Boxing Day, December 26th, in the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
India's Test squad:
Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj
Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla