Sourav Ganguly And VVS Laxman Call For KL Rahul To Be Dropped For Tests

By Dhanu Delphi on September 6, 2019

KL Rahul’s place in the test team has come under the scanner. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and one of India’s top test players VVS Laxman questioned Rahul’s place in the test line-up, saying the opener has been given a number of opportunities but has ‘flattered to deceive’.

Must Establish Permanent Opening Pair 

India has experimented with a number of opening batsmen during the last two years. However, they are yet to find a combination that has clicked consistently. The departure of M Vijay from the test scene and the sketchy form of S Dhawan basically left both the opening slots open.

M Agarwal scored 5 and 16 in the first test and followed it up with 55 and 4 in the second test. KL Rahul scored 44 and 38 in the first test and went on to score 13 and 6 in the second test. Based on those figures, M Agarwal scored a total of 80 runs in four innings. Meanwhile, KL Rahul has scored 101 in his four innings.

Rahul has done marginally better than Agarwal in the test series based on runs scored. But, his place is more in question than Agarwal and the logic behind it is very simple. KL Rahul has played for India in all formats of the game and is much more experienced than Agarwal. The team expects more from him and he has failed to deliver on a consistent basis.

Sourav Ganguly Wants R Sharma To Open

The outspoken Sourav Ganguly said the selectors need to show KL Rahul the door and get R Sharma into the test side. Ganguly said R Sharma has performed really well for India as an opener in the shorter formats of the game and should be given a chance to open in the test arena as well.

Sourav Ganguly said the West Indies tour showed that the middle order is now more or less settled. A Rahane and H Vihari played really well and cemented their place in the team. The only batting spot available is at the top of the order. It makes sense to give R Sharma who is an attacking batsman a chance to be the new opener.

India has tried as many as 7 different openers since 2018 but have yet to find the perfect combination. India have experimented with M Agarwal, KL Rahul, H Vihari, P Shaw, S Dhawan, M Vijay and P Patel. All of whom have all failed to seize the opportunity with both hands.

M Agarwal will most likely be given an opportunity in the three home tests against South Africa. If he fails, then both spots could be up for grabs. Young P Shaw would have been in the reckoning but due to his PED ban, he will be available to play only in November 2019. 

Does R Sharma Have The Technique?

R Sharma is a senior player in the squad and the vice-captain in the shorter formats of the game. The big question about R Sharma’s ability to open the batting surrounds his technique. He might not have a major problem playing in the sub-continent but in overseas conditions his weakness outside the off-stump could be exposed.

Once India finish their three match test series against South Africa, they have a one-off test match against Bangladesh. Their next overseas tour is to New Zealand where they will be tested by the conditions and a great bowling attack consisting of T Boult, T Southee, N Wagner and C de Grandomme.

India need to get their opening combination right before they travel to New Zealand. V Kohli continues to back KL Rahul. It is quite possible he continues to keep his place in the side for the home tests against South Africa.