The India first innings within the ongoing Johannesburg Test vs the Proteas was one other reminder of simply how a lot these two very skilled arms have been struggling. While Pujara performed 33 balls, earlier than falling for 3 to Duanne Olivier, Rahane stayed on the crease for only one supply, earlier than falling to the Kolpak-returnee.
There’s little doubt that the pitch on the Wanderers will not be the best observe to bat on. Spongy bounce that the Protea bowlers have used nearly to perfection. You might see how Pujara was arrange. But this was the precise setting that might have required the likes of Pujara and Rahane to step as much as the plate and carry out large time. No Virat Kohli, no simple runs available, solely 5 specialist batsmen (not counting wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant right here). The stage was arrange completely for the 2 skilled gamers to point out that they will nonetheless pack a punch or two. But their performances weren’t in sync with what the workforce, the followers and the administration, which has been backing them closely for some time now, actually wished. The tame manner by which they each departed in actual fact was even perhaps tougher to observe.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
You can inform that the 2 are beneath stress. The manner Rahane fell first ball within the first innings in Johannesburg, taking part in a form of half shot, reveals that he’s pondering too exhausting.
Every sporting profession involves an finish. No matter how large the title, the curtain does finally come down.
Going by what we have now seen within the one and a half Tests performed thus far in South Africa, is the writing on the wall then for 2 of India’s previous warhorses?
It’s no secret that the 2 are in a rut and discovering it more and more troublesome to come back out of it. The large query is simply how lengthy a rope will the 2 stalwarts of Indian cricket be given?
Let’s take into account some numbers. The similarities are telling.
The 33 12 months previous from Saurashtra has performed 93 Tests in his profession thus far, scoring 6605 runs at a profession common of 44.32.
A more in-depth take a look at his numbers over the past 4 years (January 2018 onwards) reveals a gentle dip. From January 2018 to January 2020 he performed 21 Tests, scoring 1344 runs at a mean of 40.72. Compare that together with his figures from January 2020 to January 2022, the place he performed simply 2 Tests much less, and it’ll present how the common has slipped to only over 25 in that point interval
Now Rahane, who’s by the way the identical age as Pujara – 33.
The proper hander from Mumbai, who’s batting at quantity 4 at the moment, with Virat Kohli out injured, has thus far performed 80 accomplished Tests in his profession, scoring 4863 runs at a mean of simply over 39. That common stood at nearly 43 within the time interval between January 2018 and January 2020. However, it has fallen to only over 25 within the time interval between January 2020 and January 2022, throughout which era Rahane has performed 17 Tests and scored 751 runs.
What can’t be ignored are the years of service these two have given Indian Test cricket (Pujara has been taking part in Test cricket since 2010, Rahane since 2013). They have been a part of and have contributed to a few of the most memorable away Test wins for this Indian Test workforce. They have on many events been the anchors the workforce wanted to regular the ship.
But lean phases additionally want to finish and proper now that does not appear to be occurring for Pujara and Rahane.
In the house two Test sequence vs New Zealand, which India received 1-0, Pujara scored 95 runs in 4 innings, at a mean of 23.75. This after he scored two fifties and averaged over 32 in England within the 4 Tests that have been performed.
Rahane in the meantime managed 39 runs in 2 innings, at a mean of 19.50 in opposition to New Zealand. Before that, in England, his common was 15.57, having scored 109 runs in 7 innings. Neither participant scored a fifty in opposition to the Kiwis at dwelling.
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. (TOI Photo)
The final time Pujara scored a Test century was the massive 193 vs Australia in Sydney in January 2019. Since then he has been with no century in 45 innings (6 Tests) and has averaged 26.86 since his final Test ton.
For Rahane, the final Test century scored was in December 2020 – 112 vs Australia in Melbourne. Since then he has gone 25 innings (14 Tests) with no century and has averaged 21.08.
It wasn’t shocking to listen to Sunil Gavaskar say throughout commentary that Pujara and Rahane have only one extra innings maybe to save lots of their Test careers after they walked again to the pavilion in fast succession within the first innings on the Wanderers on Monday.
Someone like Ashish Nehra has identified that Virat Kohli additionally has ‘comparable numbers’. However what can’t be forgotten is that Virat performs all three codecs. His Test common has suffered over the past couple of years, however he nonetheless averages over 50 throughout all three codecs. The final time Pujara performed an ODI was 2014, the final time Rahane performed one was February 2018. Rahane in actual fact has not featured in a T20I for India since August 2016.
Tests are the one format they play now and what they should excel and show themselves in. To say that they’re working out of time would maybe be an understatement.