The Indian selectors on Friday named Rahane as the captain of the team for the first Test against New Zealand at home. Virat Kohli will take over the leadership duties for the second Test.
In a Q & A session on his YouTube channel, Butt termed Rahane as a good captain, but pointed out that he hardly scored any runs during the tour of England. The former Pakistan opener said:
“It’s time that Rahane starts scoring runs. He was troubled in England. Now is his chance to come back. He is a good captain, and it was under him that India won the series in Australia.”
Speaking about the team selection as a whole, Butt said that the squad chosen is good enough to beat New Zealand at home even though a number of big names have been rested. He commented:
“There are some youngsters as some seniors have been rested. But it is still a very balanced squad. In the spin department, they have Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar, who are very experienced options. In the pace department, they have Siraj and Umesh Yadav. In the batting department, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Pant have been rested. Overall, the Indian side picked looks like a decent one. They should get the better of New Zealand.”
The first Test of the two-match India-New Zealand series will be played from November 25 in Kanpur while the second Test will begin in Mumbai from December 3.
“It is a very important series for Rahane” - Aakash Chopra
According to former India batter Aakash Chopra, the New Zealand series will be critical for Rahane, considering he hasn’t scored a lot of runs over the last two seasons. He pointed out that there were question marks over Rahane's place in the team for the last Test in England, which was eventually abandoned.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Chopra said:
“You have picked Ajinkya Rahane as the captain. But the truth is also that, let’s be honest, there was a question about him being selected for the last Test against England if the match had happened. It is a very important series for Rahane. He is there as a captain but he will have to score runs because there is pressure. The last one year has been really ordinary from his standards, by any standards actually."
Since the start of 2020, Rahane has scored 644 runs at an average of 24.76 in 15 Tests. His overall Test average has also fallen below 40.