Aakash Chopra: There Are A Lot Of People Who're Breathing Under Ajinkya Rahane's Neck

There Are A Lot Of People Who’re Breathing Under Ajinkya Rahane’s Neck, Says Aakash Chopra

Ajinkya Rahane during the Test series in England. Pic: Getty Images
Ajinkya Rahane during the Test series in England. Pic: Getty Images

Aakash Chopra, the former India opener, feels the Test series against New Zealand at home will be extremely crucial for Ajinkya Rahane to keep his career afloat. Aakash Chopra pointed out that India has plenty of young middle-order options waiting in the wings if Ajinkya Rahane fails again.

33-year-old Ajinkya Rahane will be leading India in the first Test against New Zealand. However, he has had a horror run with the bat over the last year, which has seen his average dip to under 40. In fact, he averages a mere 19.58 in 11 Tests in 2021, his lowest average in a year since debuting in 2013.

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Aakash Chopra: Ajinkya Rahane Under Pressure To Keep His Place In The Team Despite Being Captain For The 1st Test

Aakash Chopra agreed when asked if the forthcoming New Zealand Test series will be a do-or-die kind of situation for Ajinkya Rahane.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra commented: “It is extremely important. There are a lot of people who are breathing under his neck. The series is significant because he may be the captain in the first Test, but he is under pressure without doubt.

“If the last Test in England had taken place at Old Trafford, God knows if he would have been there in the playing XI or not, after what happened at The Oval.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra added that if the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, or Shubman Gill have an extraordinary series against New Zealand, Ajinkya Rahane will be in greater trouble.

The 44-year-old Aakash Chopra elaborated: “He is the captain for the first Test but Virat Kohli will be back for the second. Remember, when India go to South Africa, Rohit Sharma will be back. For the New Zealand series, India have picked Mayank, Shreyas, Shubman. Whoever gets the opportunity, if he scores a lot of runs, Rahane’s place will come under the scanner. There is Hanuma Vihari as well, who has not been picked for the New Zealand Tests.”

With Virat Kohli being rested for the 1st Kanpur Test, Ajinkya Rahane will lead India in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, which starts on November 25. Ajinkya Rahane has been struggling for runs in red-ball cricket this year, averaging just over 19 in 11 Tests. He will be looking to regain his touch before leading out the Indian team in the series-opener against the inaugural World Test Champions New Zealand on November 25.

Ajinkya Rahane has led India in 5 Tests, and India has won 4 and drawn 1. 3 of those wins came against Australia while one was against Afghanistan.

Gautam Gambhir: Ajinkya Rahane Is Fortunate To Be Part Of Indian Team And He Must Make That Opportunity Count

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir opined that Ajinkya Rahane is lucky to have got another opportunity to save his Test career during the home series against New Zealand. Notably, Ajinkya Rahane has played 40 Tests and scored 7 half-centuries and 3 tons since 2019. Earlier this year, he led India to a historic series win Down Under, but on the batting front, he failed to impress.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Speaking of India’s batting combination ahead of the series, Gambhir said on Star Sports: “I am going to open with Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul because he opened in England and then probably Shubman Gill will bat at No. 4. Plus, Rahane is pretty fortunate that he’s still part of this side because he’s leading. But again, he’s got another opportunity now, hopefully, he can make that count.”

Ajinkya Rahane had a poor series in England. He scored 109 runs in four Tests at an average of 15.57. Rahane scored a hundred in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG (Australia 2020/21 Test Series), but then hit the rough patch again. His struggle continued against England at home as he scored just 112 runs in 4 Tests.

During the UK tour, he played a gritty knock of 61 in the second innings of the Lord’s Test, contributing to India’s terrific win. After that, however, he toiled hard even to cross the 20-run mark in the following games.

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