However, with younger players coming up, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane's careers stand at a crossroads in Australia.
Ainkya Rahane has been unimpressive with the bat in Test cricket this year. The stand-in captain has scored just 133 runs from 3 games so far at an average of around 22. Cheteshwar Pujara hasn't done much better either. He has scored143 runs at 23.83 with 54 being his highest score so far.
India will be without the services of Virat Kohli in Melbourne when the second Test starts on Saturday. The team will also have to shrug past the horrors of the 36-all-out in Adelaide.
Former wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta opined that, in these circumstances, the series has become crucial for Rahane and Pujara.
"This is a big series for Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Especially in these times of crisis, I think it's going to be big. He's had a few good games in the last 2-3 years, not too many hundreds but I completely agree," Deep Dasgupta told Sports Today. "It could be a make or break series for someone like Ajinkya Rahane and maybe even Cheteshwar Pujara."
Positives for Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara
At the moment though, there are several accolades for the duo. Cheteshwar Pujara has an immaculate record Down Under. He was the Man of the Series in the 2018 Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Pujara also recorded his second-highest total of 197 in Sydney, which is also the venue of the 3rd Test. He also made a gritty fifty in the warmup game against Australia 'A' and looked in good touch in Adelaide before getting out to a brilliant delivery from Nathan Lyon.
Ajinkya Rahane used to be India's overseas specialist a few years ago. His average of 40 is still pretty good for Australian grounds. At the MCG, which will host the next match, Rahane made his famous 147 in 2014, which is still remembered as one of the Mumbaiker's best knocks.
If India has to bounce back in the series, it won't be without significant contributions from Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. In the absence of Kohli, it's time for the two veterans to take the plunge before it's too late.Published 23 Dec 2020, 19:34 IST