Nothing unusual with it, just that Rahane had missed the Test due to a minor hamstring injury sustained while fielding on Day 5 of the first Test at Kanpur. While there was no word from the BCCI on the status of his injury, captain Virat Kohli came down hard when he was asked to judge Rahane’s form or the lack of it.
“I cannot judge Ajinkya’s form. I think no one can judge it. The individual knows the areas of the game he needs to work hard. We need to back players who have come up with impact performances for us in the past under tough situations in key Test matches,” said Kohli in an online interaction after India posted a record 372-run win over New Zealand on Monday.
“If there is some pressure on an individual, people start creating an environment wherein everyone is asking ‘what will happen next?’ We don’t entertain that as a team. We cannot expect that balance outside. The same people who praise certain players want them out of the team after two months,” Kohli continued.
Rahane’s batting average has dipped below 20 in 2021 and it’s unfair that many a precocious talent are being made to wait to fill that space. Shreyas Iyer proved that point by his hundred on debut. Similarly, the likes of Abhimanyu Easwaran and Suryakumar Yadav have been waiting in the wings as is Hanuma Vihari who has suffered from whimsical selectors.
Kohli said he doesn’t believe in dropping a player due to the clamour outside. “We have never reacted like that and we never will because we know the amount of hard work and effort that goes into it. We will support him. Whether it is Ajinkya or someone else, we won’t make a decision based on atmosphere outside,” said Kohli.