Ajinkya Rahane evades questions about possible lineup changes for the 2nd Test against New Zealand in Mumbai

In what was a dramatic day five, New Zealand’s tail-enders exhibited some terrific spirit to pull an astonishing draw. Debutant Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel were the last pair of visitors and they denied India a win. Post the match, India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane reckoned on newcomer Shreyas Iyer’s knock and the adjustments team India could need to make in the Mumbai Test, with betting in India being in full flow.

Rahane has been suffering a decline in his form recently. Despite his being the vice-captain of the Test setup, there have been debates about removing him from the side after another poor performance with the cricket bat. The batsman has scored 591 runs in his past 20 innings and baring the brilliant century at MCG in 2020, he hasn’t been able to produce an impacting performance.

What was said by Ajinkya Rahane after the first Test match that ended in a draw, with the Kiwis barely holding on?

He had a dismaying effort in the Kanpur Test as well. Rahane scored 35 runs in the first innings while left with only four runs to his credit in the second innings. Virat Kohli is all set to join the squad for the second Test and it has further contributed to the talks about the alterations in the upcoming Test.

With Kohli back in the setup, one of the batsmen will have to make room for him. When questioned about the same at the post-match presentation of the Kanpur Test, Rahane denied making any remarks on the same.

“Virat is coming back for the next game. We’ll have to wait and watch until the Mumbai game. I am not going to make any remarks but the management will make a call,” Rahane said.

Debutant Shreyas Iyer wowed everyone with his knocks in the first Test. The first innings of the match saw him smash a defiant century, which he backed up with a 65-run performance in the second innings when the game was on the line. Aakash Chopra, a former Indian cricketer and analyst, had predicted that someone would be omitted as a result of Kohli’s comeback, but that it would not be Iyer.

Because of his presence and dominance in terms of how he performed against the spinners, it is practically hard to overlook him or remove him for the next Test match, regardless of who replaces him. ‘Someone will go out, but it will not be Shreyas Iyer,’ Chopra stated on Sunday’s tea-break programme on Star Sports.

On the fifth day of the first Test against New Zealand, India was unable to bowl them out, but captain Ajinkya Rahane hailed his teammates, stating they gave their all and couldn’t have done anything differently.

What did the acting skipper conclude by saying at the end of the game?

After the fall of the ninth wicket, Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel (2 not out off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Rachin Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) combined to consume 8.4 overs to salvage a remarkable draw for New Zealand in failing light. 

“It was a pretty excellent cricket match, and they performed very well. Immediately after the first session, we came back exceedingly well. We wanted to have that partnership up and running as soon as possible. Although we hoped to bowl 5-6 overs in the end, the continuation of the partnership was essential. I do not believe there was anything we could have done differently,” Rahane said after the match at the post-match presentation.

Also, Rahane was questioned whether he could have declared sooner in the final session, to which he responded in the negative.

In the last 30 minutes of play on Monday, the light metre went off after every over. Rahane said that the decision was taken in the best interests of the team given the circumstances.

“The (regular) conversation with the umpires was about the light. They made the decision, and I believe they were correct. I was under the impression that spinners would have to bowl extended stints on this surface. It was imperative that the bowlers be rotated,” he said.

Rahane, who has been struggling for runs for some time, also commended rookie Shreyas Iyer, but he did not reveal who will replace Virat Kohli in the next Test in Mumbai, which is scheduled for September.