India vs South Africa: Ravi Shastri defends Ajinkya Rahane's omission, says Rohit Sharma was picked on basis of form

India coach Ravi Shastri on Monday defended the team management's decision to leave out Ajinkya Rahane from the first two Tests in South Africa, saying Rohit Sharma was the best option going by form.

PTI, Jan 22, 2018 22:04:37 IST

Johannesburg: India coach Ravi Shastri on Monday defended the team management's decision to leave out Ajinkya Rahane from the first two Tests in South Africa, saying Rohit Sharma was the best option going by form.

One of the most successful Indian batsmen overseas in recent years, vice-captain Rahane was not picked for the Tests in Cape Town and Centurion, with the Indian team management preferring to go with limited-overs specialist Sharma on "current form".

India vs South Africa: Ravi Shastri defends Ajinkya Rahanes omission, says Rohit Sharma was picked on basis of form

File image of India coach Ravi Shastri. Reuters

But Sharma's failure to live upto the expectations and the Indian batting's inability to stand upto the South African pace attack in the preceding matches attracted widespread criticism, forcing the management to rethink about Rahane.

"If Ajinkya (Rahane) had played the first Test and not done well, you would have asked me the same question about why Rohit hasn't played. Rohit played, he didn't do well, so you are asking me why Ajinkya didn't play," a defiant Shastri told reporters when queried about the selection policy.

"The same would have happened with the fast bowlers. So you have choices. The team management has discussed what is the best option. They stick by it and they go by it," Shastri said.
"Overseas, you go on current form, you go on conditions.

You see which player can adapt to certain conditions quicker than the other," he added.

But if Sunday and Monday's practice sessions at the Wanderers were any indication, there is a possibility of Rahane's return to the playing XI for the inconsequential third Test starting here on Wednesday.

The India coach said on overseas tours, a team is forced to select their playing XI keeping conditions in mind.

"Chopping and changing overseas is easier. In India, you don't need to chop and change because you know what the conditions are and for which bowler to play, as opposed to what kind of track you will get," Shastri said.

"Whether you need a bowler with bounce or you need a bowler with swing, so that's where the chopping and changing starts," he added.
Shastri also refused to the criticism back home.

"Experts are meant to do a job. They can say what they want. It doesn't affect us. They have a job to do, so they are entitled to what they say," Shastri signed off.

Shastri's dig at experts came following former India opener Virender Sehwag's criticism of skipper Virat Kohli's selection policy.

After suffering a 72-run defeat in the first Test in Cape Town, India made three changes to their playing XI with KL Rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, whose three-wicket burst in the first morning of the opening Test had rocked the hosts.

And Sehwag did not mince words when he stated that Kohli "should drop himself" if he fails in the second Test against South Africa.

Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 22:04:37 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
6 New Zealand 4784 252