Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar (Credits: AFP)

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes that Indian team management persisted with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane for their experience and they repaid the faith back as the duo scored the fifties in 2nd innings of the Johannesburg Test however that wasn’t proved enough as Dean Elgar led South Africa to a 7-wicket win to level the series by 1-1.

Notable that India’s middle-order has been on the firing lines of critics as they failed to live up to the expectations of late. Pujara hasn’t scored a hundred since January while Rahane managed to score only two fifties in the year 2021.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

But the duo added 111 runs in 140 deliveries as India was desperate for some runs from the experienced duo. Pujara scored 53 while Rahane scored a quickfire 78 ball 58 to give India a chance to fight back. Gavaskar believes that the duo deserved the backing for their experience.

“The team has backed them because of the experience and what they have done in the past. They had the belief that they will come good and they did,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.

“Sometimes we can be a little bit hard on some of our senior players because you have these exciting young players waiting in the wings and we all want to see them get a bit of exposure. But as long as these senior players are playing well and not getting out badly, then I think we should show faith in them,” he added further.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

The duo scored the fifties in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test

However, the legendary batsman wasn’t impressed with the first looks of KL Rahul’s captaincy. He said that India couldn’t put enough pressure on Elgar & Co. to trigger a collapse. Gavaskar said that they offered Dean Elgar some easy singles at the starting of innings.

“It is amazing, this is the first time that India have lost a Test match in which Virat Kohli has not played. They drew once in Sydney but otherwise they have always won. I thought giving Dean Elgar those singles at the start of the innings was making life a little bit easier for him,” Gavaskar stated.

“Elgar is not a hooker of the ball so to have two men in the deep did not make any sense. He was taking the singles quite comfortably. The Indian fielding could have been just that little bit sharper. But otherwise, it was the South Africans who won the game. I don’t think the Indians lost it, the South Africans who won this game,” he added further.

The third and final Test will be played from January 11 at Cape Town.

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