We are pretty sure they will come back: Vikram Rathour backs struggling Pujara, Rahane

Tags: New Zealand tour of India, 2021, India vs New Zealand, 1st Test at Kanpur, Nov 25-29, 2021, New Zealand, India, Cheteshwar Arvind Pujara, Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane, Vikram Rathour

Published on: Nov 29, 2021

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Despite yet another failure for Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the Kanpur Test, Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour backed both the veteran batters to come good in the future. Pujara was dismissed for contrasting 20s in both innings of the Test match against New Zealand while stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane registered scores of 35 and 4.

Asked if the time has come to look beyond the two senior cricketers, Rathour asserted that the think tank still have faith in them. He said at a press conference at the end of the fourth day’s play, "Of course we want our top order to contribute, but the cricketers you mentioned have played 80 and 90 Test matches so they have the experience. Of course to play that many games they must have done well for us. I understand both of them are going through a lean phase but they have played very very important knocks for us in the past, and we are pretty sure they will come back and play more important knocks for our team in the future as well."

Rahane hasn’t scored a century since the Boxing Day Test last year and has registered a string of low scores. Pujara’s last hundred came in January 2019 during the 2018-19 tour Down Under, when he was in prime form. He did play a few crucial knocks during the Tests in Australia earlier this year as well as in England but hasn’t been consistent at all.

After India crumbled to 51 for 5 on Sunday, debutant Shreyas Iyer (65) and Wriddhiman Saha (61*) rescued them with fine fifties. Iyer created history on debut, becoming the first Indian to score a hundred and a fifty on Test debut.

Asked who Virat Kohli will replace when he comes back into the team for the next Test, Rathour replied, “The captain coming back in will happen in Mumbai, I understand. We will get to that point when we reach Mumbai. At this point we are focused on this game. There is still a day to go, and a game to be won. So we are really focused on this game. (On Shreyas retaining his spot) That decision we will take when we land in Mumbai.”

The batting coach also praised Saha for his fighting knock, battling a stiff neck. Admitting that Rishabh Pant remains the team’s No. 1 keeper, Rathour added, "Unfortunately for Wriddhi, we have an extremely special player, Rishabh Pant, who is the No. 1 keeper for the team, who has done extremely well for us in the past two years. That's the role Wriddhi has at the moment. He is there whenever we need him. Whenever Pant is not there. Again he showed today with the knock he played today that how important he is and how good he is."

India declared their second innings on 234 for 7 and dismissed Will Young (2) before stumps. The Kiwis need 280 for victory on Day 5.

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