The first Test between India and England at Edgbaston saw the team management pull off a big gamble as a specialist batsman in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped in favour of KL Rahul at the No. 3 spot. The opening batsmen incurred a torrid time in both the innings and also failed to play the sort of reassuring innings at one-down position that Pujara is known for. Heading into the second Test at Lord’s, Virender Sehwag dwelled into the subject over who should play at the No. 3 position between Rahul and Pujara in the next match.
Speaking to India TV, Sehwag refused to give his nod for Rahul to be dropped in the favour of Pujara, suggesting that skipper Virat Kohli should persist with the player as dropping him after one bad game wouldn’t be the right ideology.
“If KL Rahul played the first Test then I think he should play the second match too. He should get enough chances. Because if you drop a player after just one match, it will definitely hurt his confidence. I think a player should get at least one full series and then if he fails to perform, you can drop that particular player from the team and give chance to others,” said the former Indian opener.
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has also been of the same belief and had backed KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane for extended runs in the team with the assurance that they would be given a fair amount of chances before being put on the bench. Sehwag has also been of the same opinion and suggested that a 5-match Test series should be enough to judge the player’s ability and potential.
“Five Test matches and 10 innings are enough for a player to perform and if somebody fails in it then he should be dropped. Yes, earlier I did think that Pujara should play at Lord’s but now I feel that KL Rahul should get the chance since he played the first Test. If he fails to perform in both the innings at Lord’s then I think it would be good to bring Pujara in for the third Test,” he added.
Sehwag further expressed disappointment on seeing the Indian batting unit fail miserably but was full of praise for the bowlers. While Kohli emerged as the lone warrior, Viru felt that the lack of support for the Indian skipper is what cost team the match.
“Team rankings do not matter in cricket. If you play well on a particular day, you will win. I felt sad to see India play poorly on those three days in Birmingham. The bowlers did a good job but the batting wasn’t good. If there would have been one batsman who could have supported Kohli in the first innings then India would have got a lead of 50-60 runs. The margin of our defeat was just 31 runs. As I have said earlier, it is always important to match the first innings score of the opposition,” he said.