New Delhi. The Indian cricket team will tour South Africa next month ie in December. In this tour, Team India will play 3 T20, 3 ODI and 2 match Test series with the hosts. Team India for the series can be announced today (30 November). Whether Team India’s new ‘wall’ Cheteshwar Pujara and the experienced Ajinkya Rahane will get a place in Team India for this series or not, remains a topic of discussion. Both have been in and out of the Test team for some time. If we look at the recent performance of both, these players are disappointed. In such a situation, it seems difficult for Pujara and Rahane to return to the Test team.
When the selectors sit down to pick the team for the India Tour of South Africa, there will be many things in front of them. For example, apart from team selection in all three formats for the South Africa tour, there is also talk of preparing a blue print for the T20 World Cup 2024 to be held next year. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will return to the Test team. The chances of Rahane and Pujara making a comeback are very slim. One way for Rahane to get back into the team would be if KL Rahul is responsible behind the wicket and Ishan Kishan is made the second wicketkeeper, in which case there might be room for one more batsman in the team. But the biggest question is about the growing age of Rahane (Ajinkya Rahane) whether the selection committee headed by Ajit Agarkar wants to return or give chance to new faces for future? Interesting to see.
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Ajinkya Rahane played his last Test match in July this year on the West Indies tour. His performance in the series was nothing special. He scored 8 runs in the first innings of the second test while he did not bat in the second innings. In the first test match of the series, only 3 runs were scored from Rahane’s bat. Team India did not bat in the second innings. The 35 year old Rahane is currently playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy but if we look at his performance in the last 5 innings in List A, he hasn’t played any big innings yet. He returned unbeaten after scoring 15 runs against Sikkim and scored 34 not out against Kerala. He scored 3 and 8 runs against Railways and Puducherry.
The 35-year-old Cheteshwar Pujara also failed to show anything special after returning to the Test team. After a poor performance in the previous South Africa tour, Pujara was dropped from the Test team but he returned after a strong performance in the province. He was also barred from the West Indies tour. Pujara’s bat remained silent in the World Test Championship final against Australia. He scored 14 runs in the first innings of this final played at The Oval, while in the second innings he returned to the pavilion after scoring 27 runs.
Pujara is currently playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well. In the last three innings of this List A tournament, Pujara scored 15, 24 and zero. Against Odisha, he did not score 15 runs, while against Tripura, he scored 24 runs with his bat. He could not even open an account against Puducherry. Before that he also played county but his performance there was also disappointing. Pujara did not impress while playing for Rest of India in the Irani Cup final last month.