The pressure on Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara will only increase every time they do not make a big score in the coming months, when India are set to play more red ball cricket, veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has said. Rahane and Pujara failed to go past 50 on Day 1 of India’s first Test against New Zealand.
Although Rahane has not scored a century since December 2020, Pujara has not scored a ton since making 193 against Australia in January 2019. “They would no doubt be disappointed. There has been this word that they should score hundreds because they have not done that for some time and for every match it seems that the pressure is increasing, “Karthik said on Cricbuzz.
“Since test matches were played sporadically, they have not been in the spotlight so often in recent times. There has been a lot of white ball cricket lately, so it has gone a bit under the radar, but once the test cricket starts in full swing again,. “they will come into the spotlight every time they do not score runs. For every match, the voices from outside will seem to get louder,” said Karthik.
Rahane, who is India’s captain for the first Test, fell after scoring 35 of 63 balls, while Pujara, the vice-captain of the team in Kanpur, scored 26 in 88 balls. Rahane came in as No. 4, which is usually the place Virat Kohli strikes, but the latter has been rested for the first test. Debutant Shreyas Iyer, who came in his place as No. 5, ended up hitting through the rest of the day, scoring 75 of 136 balls. India were in a shaky spot after the dismissals of Pujara and Rahane, but Iyer’s 113-run stand with Jadeja, who was not out on 50 of 100 balls at the end of the day, put India in a leading position.
Karthik said Iyer’s performance could call into question the position of Pujara and Rahane on the team in question, but head coach Rahul Dravid could help the pair.
“Now Shreya’s Iyer goes in as No. 5 and scores a fifty. If he continues to earn a hundred and then does well in the next match, then what should they do when they go to South Africa (for their upcoming tour) should they hold on to him or one of these two? These are the big questions that Rahul Dravid has to answer.
“That said, Rahul Dravid knows the value of someone like Pujara or Rahane. I think somewhere the quality of Rahul Dravid will come out through these two batters because they have very similar methods and playing styles. So maybe he feels he can get the best out of them and he can act as the catalyst to get their test career moving forward, “Karthik said.