KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Sanjay Manjrekar admits that he was shocked to see KL Rahul leading the Indian team in the second Test against South Africa after Virat Kohli had pulled himself out. Seeing KL Rahul walk out for toss ahead of the first day’s play in the ongoing 2nd Test between India and South Africa on Monday, many fans and experts were left stunned.

Having been recently named as India’s vice-captain across formats, KL Rahul got the opportunity to lead the Indian team in Tests for the first time ever as Virat Kohli reportedly had an upper back spasm.

What left everyone shocked was the fact that there was no news of Virat Kohli going through a fitness concern in the build-up to the match. It was right at the time of the toss that the news came out. KL Rahul would lead in ODIs after the Tests too as Rohit Sharma is still unfit.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Sanjay Manjrekar Shocked To See KL Rahul Walking Out For The Toss Instead Of Virat Kohli

Sanjay Manjrekar admitted that all kinds of thoughts went through his head when he came to know that Virat Kohli was sitting out of the Johannesburg Test as he won’t miss a Test without a valid reason.

“I was absolutely shocked when I read that KL Rahul is walking out for the toss. All kinds of thoughts came over my mind. Various thoughts, but who would’ve thought that an injury to Virat Kohli because he’s one of those guys who never ever miss a Test match,” Sanjay Manjrekar said.

“And considering that India is in a great position to win and make history, it’s really unfortunate. It seems he’s really hurting. Shocking in many ways because it’s a surprise. And a batting setback as well despite his form,” Sanjay Manjrekar said in the preview session.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

KL Rahul has also been in a rich vein of form with the bat, scoring 123 & 23 in Centurion to help India record their first-ever Test win at the venue before top-scoring with 50 in India’s 1st innings in the 2nd Johannesburg Test. With newly appointed ODI skipper Rohit Sharma injured, KL Rahul will lead India in the three-match ODI series against South Africa which starts on January 19 after the culmination of the Test series.

Sanjay Manjrekar:  If Not For His Injury, Rohit Sharma Wouldh’ve Captained

While admitting that Virat Kohli’s absence was a big loss for the Indian team despite his patchy form of late, Sanjay Majrekar was delighted to see KL Rahul being rewarded for his performances in the Test format, just like Rohit Sharma was earlier.

Rohit Sharma was initially appointed Test vice-captain after Ajinkya Rahane was stripped of the role to concentrate on his batting and fight poor form. But his hamstring injury saw KL Rahul being awarded the post.

“There’s something about Test match performances. You have Rohit Sharma who had a great Test series vs ENG. Immediately after that, he became a captaincy candidate. If not for his injury, he would’ve captained this match,” Sanjay Manjrekar said.

Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Test match performances really help the credibility of a player and KL Rahul’s performance in England and his 100 recently has contributed to his rise and stature in the team. Seen this with Rohit Sharma and now with KL Rahul. And this is all to do with the hard work that they put in, in England,” he added.

KL Rahul has had his task cut out in the first Test, with an injury to Mohammed Siraj putting his chances of kicking off the Test captaincy career on a winning note. India has only managed to put in 202 runs on the board in the first innings. Mohammed Siraj, who had injured himself on Day 1, looked in a much better shape as he took the field alongside his teammates on Day 2 of the 2nd Test against South Africa at the Wanderers.

Shardul Thakur eventually got the wicket of South African skipper, Dean Elgar. After his wicket, the pair of Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen was tasted with some quality seam bowling and Shardul Thakur again got into the act with the wickets of Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen.

His figures read 3/8 after 4.5 overs. His effort saw South Africa reduced to 102/4 at Lunch. Temba Bavuma walked out alongside Kyle Verreynne after Lunch.