End of the road for Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara?


A few days back, after their umpteenth failure, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were trending on social media with the hashtag being ‘PuRane’ (old).

Now, social media is a platform for outrage almost 24×7 and it is very easy to call the latest trend as the “proverbial outside noise”, which the Indian cricket team management does not like taking note of.

But after five failures in six completed knocks in South Africa, the two veterans surely seem to have played their last Test for India for some time.

It will be a travesty if two among the trio of Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill [recovering from a shin injury] don’t make it to the playing XI in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in February-March. Rahane’s tally stands at 136 at an average of 22.66 and Pujara is even worse with only 124 at 20.66. In all likelihood, the statistics will be the final nail in the coffin when Chetan Sharma and his colleagues pick the squad for the next Test series in India.

More than anyone else, the duo knows that time indeed has run out for them. Never ever has Indian cricket establishment given such a long rope to two individuals like the one being given to Rahane and Pujara.
In last two years, they have failed consistently and found success not even sporadically whereas it should have been the other way round.

It seemed that team management as well as selectors were bent on giving them every chance to succeed. Perhaps, now stakeholders would think that it’s time Vihari and Iyer get half of those chances to fail. One can vouch they wouldn’t do much worse than what Rahane and Pujara have done.

So what is the problem with Pujara and Rahane? It’s a two-fold issue of technical issues which have also been compounded by mental cobwebs.

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