India suffered their first defeat of the ICC World Test Championship as they went down to New Zealand by 10 wickets in the first Test at Wellington. The Indian batting department was severely criticized for not being able to score against a potent Kiwi attack. Cheteshwar Pujara was put under the scanner even more as he managed to score only 22 runs from 123 balls in the entirety of the Test match.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was quick to defend Pujara and said that it was the tight line and length of the opposition bowlers that stopped him from scoring.
"I thought personally New Zealand bowled very well in the first well. Pujara did not get stuck according to me. He was trying to score runs. All their bowlers did not bowl any loose deliveries. It can happen, any batsman can go through this phase," Rahane told reporters.
Rahane believed that the experience of Hanuma Vihari, who has already played here on the India A tour, will be very handy for the team. He also spoke about the dilemma of playing one spinner among Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
"We have not made a decision yet. Ashwin bowled well looking at the conditions in Wellington. Jadeja is also a quality-bowler. It is a good sign that we have two quality players. The selection will depend on how the wicket looks tomorrow and what the captain and coach think," Rahane asserted.
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Rahane also backed the fast bowlers to make a comeback in the second Test. Bumrah and Ishant both are returning from injuries. Thus, Rahane felt that patience was needed to bring out the best out of both men (and also out of Mohammed Shami).
"Ishant bowled very well. Shami and Bumrah have been consistent. It was just this game. We have to adapt to the conditions, I am sure they will adapt. We do not have any doubts about Bumrah and Shami. If we bat first here, we have to play really well in the first session. Having a clear mind and intent will help us," Rahane stated.