Harbhajan Singh Hopes Ajinkya Rahane Score Some Runs By Leading From The Front In The 1st Test
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Harbhajan Singh Hopes Ajinkya Rahane Score Some Runs By Leading From The Front In The 1st Test

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

Harbhajan Singh believes that senior India batter Ajinkya Rahane may find himself in further trouble if he doesn’t score runs in the upcoming India vs New Zealand Test series.

While previewing the 1st Test, Harbhajan Singh stated that the senior India batter needs to find form and lead as skipper from the front against New Zealand.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh: Skipper Ajinkya Rahane Should Score Runs And If He Doesn’t Score Runs There Is A Queue Of Players Waiting

Harbhajan Singh, while reviewing the first Test in a video, said while it is good to see the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Rahul Dravid back him, he continues to remain on thin ice there are numerous middle-order batsmen in the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, who are waiting in line for their turn.

“There’s no Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma has opted to rest himself. Then there’s Ajinkya Rahane; we were wondering whether he’ll be in the team or not. But he has been handed the captaincy (for the first Test). His last 11 matches haven’t gone too well as he is averaging just 19 (19.58). He is a brilliant cricketer but his performance hasn’t quite backed him. But it’s also good to see the thinking of Rohit, Virat, and Rahul Dravid as they believe that Rahane should be in the team.”

“Not that he has been given the captaincy, I hope he takes the team forward and also scores runs with the bat so we can see him playing for a little more. If he doesn’t score runs, the queue (of players waiting in the ranks) behind him is very long. There’s Suryakumar Yadav among others waiting in line,” explained Harbhajan. 

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

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.

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.  He will be looking to regain his touch before leading out the Indian team in the series-opening Test against the inaugural World Test Champions New Zealand.

Harbhajan Singh: The Upcoming 2 Tests vs NZ Is A Kind Of New Season As It’s the First Test At Home After 8-9 Months

India and New Zealand will meet for the first time since the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June 2021,  which the Black Caps won. Moreover, this will be India’s first Test series at home in about 8-9 months. Harbhajan Singh quipped that India must start well and move forward by playing good cricket.

“The England Tour went very well for the team and then the final Test match did not happen. After that, a lot of T20 cricket was played, be it IPL [2021] or the T20 World Cup. So, this is kind of a new season because this is the first Test match we are playing at home (after a long time).”

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

“It will be important how India start against New Zealand because they are a strong side in India as well. I hope to see good cricket pitches in India and the Indian team move forward by playing good cricket,” concluded Harbhajan Singh.

India last played against England at home in February-March 2021 and won the Test series 3-1 despite losing the 1st Test. Spinners Axar Patel (27 scalps in his debut Test series) and Ravichandran Ashwin (32 scalps) shone for India.

Probable XI

India: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Cheteshwar Pujara (Vice-captain), Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson(Captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (WK), Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner

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