Ajinkya Rahane may not be the batsman he used to be during his first two years in Test cricket but is still good enough to be India’s number five in the traditional format, according to former player and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
The former Indian batsman said that even though KL Rahul has done well in white-ball cricket, that can’t be a parameter for replacing Rahane in five-day format as the stylish Karnataka batsman needs to score heavily in domestic first-class games.
“KL Rahul has been brilliant at number five. Yes granted, Rahane doesn’t look the same player he was in the first two years of his Test career and I would like to see that kind of form coming back,” Manjrekar said in his YouTube channel.
“It (Rahane’s form) comes in little spurts, sometimes, but not as consistently as he would like. But based on his runs that he has got, I don’t think it is right to think of Rahul at number five in Test matches,” added Manjrekar, who played 37 tests for India.
As far as Rahul was concerned, Manjrekar pointed out that his recent success has come in white-ball cricket.
“The last time he (Rahul) played Test cricket, he wasn’t that impressive and let’s not get too carried away with a batsman getting runs in T20 and 50 overs cricket and push into Test match cricket. So, (for) KL Rahul to nudge the Indian batsman at the test level in the middle-order, he will have to get a truckload of runs at the domestic level, just like (Mayank) Agarwal did to get in the Indian team,” he added.
While there has been some discussions on whether India should have split captaincy, Manjrekar said that currently that’s not the need of the hour considering Virat Kohli is an automatic choice as batsman in all three formats.
Asked whether split captaincy is something that India needs, Manjrekar said, “Now, my theory of split captaincy is that you don’t go looking to have split captaincy. So if you are fortunate to have a captain, who is good in all three formats and still a good captain, then you don’t need split captaincy.”
“At the moment, you have Virat Kohli, who is excellent in all three formats, so there is no need for India to look at split captaincy, there might come a time in the future, who knows India might start looking for split captaincy,” he explained.
He said that India was blessed to have captains like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kohli, and hence there is no need to have split captaincy.
“If India come to a situation where they have an excellent test captain and test player, but not good enough to be in 50 over and T20, then maybe you have a different captain. But, India at the moment are quite blessed and in the past as well, Dhoni was the same, when he was captaining all three formats, he was pretty good in all three formats,” he said.
Manjrekar also said that he does not apply bias towards any particular player towards commentary but would not hesitate to appreciate the team that is better or point out when a superstar cricketer is not doing well. He also spoke about India’s recent lack of success at the ICC events, being Vijay Manjrekar’s son and more: