With the second test match just a couple of days away, the Indian think tank needs to decide their starting XI for the all-important second test match in Centurion.
One of the biggest decisions that Kohli had to take on the eve on the first test match was to pick one of Rohit or Rahane in the starting XI.
While Rahane has been India’s most consistent performer overseas, his form over the last 12 months has been far below his usual standards. On the other hand, Rohit Sharma scored a bulk load of runs in the latter half of 2017, and had earned his spot in the test XI.
Kohli eventually went with Rohit, which meant that Rahane, who is the vice-captain in the test format, had to sit out of the first test match. Pundits and fans were shocked, as no one expected Kohli to bench someone who had an average of 53.44 in test matches overseas.
Even on his previous tour to South Africa, Rahane scored 209 runs at an impressive average of 52.25, which is why his exclusion was all the more surprising.
But after Rohit failed to perform in Cape Town, Kohli will surely be under pressure to play Rahane in Durban. India cannot afford to lose the second test match, which is why the team management must consider bringing back Ajinkya Rahane.
Shikhar Dhawan’s inconsistency at the top is another concern, as the Delhi batsman has never really performed on a consistent basis outside Asia. A match winner in the limited overs format, Dhawan has never really translated his form in to the test arena, as his technique often gets exposed on foreign soil.
KL Rahul on the other hand performed admirably on India’s last tour to Australia, as the Karnataka opener scored a hundred and looked the part early on in his career.
According to reports, the team management is looking to bring Rahul and drop Dhawan for the second test match. But a question mark still hangs on top of Rahane.
If India decides to drop Rohit and bring back Rahane, then it would be sending a very poor message to Rohit Sharma. Rohit had a couple of half centuries and a century in his last few innings before Cape Town, which is why it will not be right to drop him after a failure.
Then again, side stepping Rahane once again will be a serious blow to an already low on confidence Rahane, as India’s current vice-captain will be wondering what he must do to get back into the test side.
Questions a plenty for Virat Kohli ahead of the second test match!