Team India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli, who has been struggling for big runs for over two years, has underplayed the criticism surrounding him, pointing out that he has made key contributions for the team in the same period. Kohli’s last Test hundred, as has been widely reported by now, came in November 2019. During the same period, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have also struggled for consistency, meaning India’s middle-order has been on thin ice.
The three-match Test series between South Africa and India is currently tied 1-1. Experts gave India a great chance of winning their maiden Test series in South Africa during the second Test in Johannesburg. However, South Africa fought back from the defeat in Centurion to win at Wanderers and level the series. Proteas skipper Dean Elgar led from the front with an unbeaten 96 in a chase of 240.
Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has admitted that there will be a conversation with wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant over his shot selection. Pant was dismissed for a third-ball duck in the Johannesburg Test, which India went on to lose by seven wickets on Thursday. On day three, Pant gifted his wicket away while trying to slog Kagiso Rabada without getting his eye in.
Indian batter Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that the Johannesburg surface has variable bounce after scoring a crucial fifty on Day 3 of the 2nd Test against South Africa. Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane struck half-centuries while Hanuma Vihari scored a vital 40* as India posted 266 in their second innings and set South Africa a target of 240 for victory. In response, the Proteas reached 118 for 2 by stumps.
Indian pacer Shardul Thakur may have claimed his best Test bowling figures of 7 for 61 on Day 2 of the Johannesburg Test against South Africa. However, Thakur feels that his best is yet to come. The 30-year-old was the wrecker-in-chief as India restricted the Proteas to 229. His heroics ensured that South Africa’s first-innings lead was restricted to 27. India ended Day 2 on 85 for 2, having gained a lead of 58 runs.
Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin feels that stand-in captain KL Rahul has figured out a formula to succeed in Test cricket. Rahul has been India’s most competent batter during the ongoing Test series in South Africa. The opener registered scores of 123 and 23 in India’s maiden Test win in Centurion. He also top-scored for the visitors with 50 in the first innings of the second Test at The Wanderers.
Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has asserted that Test captain Virat Kohli has remained motivated and committed as ever despite all the controversy surrounding him. Ahead of the South Africa tour, Kohli had contradicted BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, claiming he had not been asked to stay on as T20I captain. Recently, though, Chairman of Selectors Chetan Sharma backed Ganguly and said that all the selectors had requested Kohli to reconsider his decision.
Centurion Test player of the match KL Rahul stated that his hundred in the opening Test of the series against South Africa was right up there with his best. Rahul scored 123 in the first innings as India won the Centurion Test by 113 runs on Day 5. The Indian opener was the only batter to reach three figures from either side. Batting first after winning the toss on Day 1, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (60) featured in a century opening stand to get India off to a great start. Mohammed Shami then claimed five wickets in South Africa’s first innings to put the visitors in command.
Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour has backed captain Virat Kohli to continue playing his drives outside off stump. However, he agreed that the skipper will need to pick the right balls to drive. Kohli got out playing loose wafts outside the off stump in both innings of the Centurion Test. The same pattern has been visible in the Indian captain’s batting for a few months now.