Wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik has opined that out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane could be axed to accommodate Shreyas Iyer in India's Test line-up. The Test vice-captain has had trouble with his form for quite a while now, and Karthik thinks Iyer's heroics will put Rahane under the pump.
Ajinkya Rahane has only averaged 19.6 runs in Test cricket in 2021 and posted scores of 35 and 4 in the Kanpur Test against New Zealand. Dinesh Karthik believes it wouldn't be such a bad thing if Rahane were to be dropped for a game.
Speaking in a discussion with Cricbuzz, Dinesh Karthik said:
"With Shreyas Iyer coming in and doing so well, I think the pressure will obviously be on Rahane and he might be the one to be dropped. This has happened during a tour of South Africa when Rahane was dropped for a game before he again came back. There is no harm if Rahane's dropped for a game."
"It will ease some of the pressure on him" - Dinesh Karthik on Ajinkya Rahane
The 36-year old lauded Shreyas Iyer's debut performance as the Mumbai-born batter scored a century and a half-century for a total of 170 runs. The Tamil Nadu cricketer feels dropping Rahane from the team will take some of the pressure off him:
"Iyer has literally taken India to a safe zone in this Test on his own. He's done really well. And it's not like Rahane has not been among the runs in 1-2 Tests. It has been going on for a long time now. I don't think it's such a bad thing for him to be dropped. It will ease some of the pressure on him," he added.
Karthik also commented on Cheteshwar Pujara's poor run of form in recent times. He said:
"I do think a similar sort of baggage is there on (Cheteshwar) Pujara too. He hasn't got a hundred in a long time. And since the start of 2020, he too has averaged in the mid-20s. These are two players who have set their standards very high. They would know they haven't performed according to expectations."
The second Test between India and New Zealand will get underway on 3 December at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.