Former Indian Captain and ODI opener Sourav Ganguly has raised questions over Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma's inclusion in the team for the opening Test against South Africa which India lost by 72 runs. Sourav pointed out that the selection for the first Test should have been done on the basis of conditions and not just form. Ganguly said that KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane have done well on past overseas tours and would have been a better fit given the conditions.
“History of Rohit Sharma and history of Shikhar Dhawan in overseas conditions are not very good. You look at their records, it’s like chalk and cheese when they go away and when they are in India. So you are basically depending on Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli as the two best performers in overseas conditions,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today.
“Look at Cheteshwar Pujara. His 13 of 14 Test hundreds have come in sub-continent conditions. I keep saying about KL Rahul because he has scored runs in Australia, he has scored runs in West Indies and Sri Lanka. It’s not just about form, it’s also about where people score runs. But let’s not panic too much. I was not surprised by the result. I have tremendous regard for Virat Kohli and we will see an improved performance in the next game,” he added.
Ganguly also threw light on changes he would like to see going into the second Test. "I would actually play five bowlers and play KL Rahul in place of Shikhar Dhawan. I would give Rohit Sharma one more opportunity. I wouldn't tinker with the bowling line-up. All the batters have not scored runs. There's not been a single fifty from the order. You got to put this behind and try and comeback stronger in the next Test. Preparation is important and India have lost a bit there and faced not much of criticism. So India will have to fight their way into the next match," he told CricketNext.
The second Test begins Saturday January 13 and it will be interesting to see whether India drops Dhawan and Rohit or continue with the same playing XI.