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"Time has come to give new players a chance" - Saba Karim on India's middle-order woes in Test cricket

Ajinkya Rahane (L) and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Image source: Getty)
Ajinkya Rahane (L) and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Image source: Getty)

Former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim has expressed concerns over India's middle order. Highlighting the fact that the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have struggled in the longer format lately, he believes team management should back new players for the positions.

While speaking on YouTube channel Khelneeti, the cricketer-turned-commentator recently pointed out that India's middle-order woes put extra pressure on the team's lower order. He reckoned that a quality bowling attack could easily exploit the weakness and bundle the side for a paltry score.

Karim proposed two approaches to solve the aforementioned issue. He stated the Indian think tank could still give some time to their senior batters to improve their performances. Or else, they should hand the responsibilities to players who have been doing well in first-class matches over the years.

Saba Karim said:

"There should be stability in the top-order. If players batting at number 3,4 and 5 aren't scoring runs regularly, then the lower-order will be under pressure. If you are playing against a strong blowing attack, then they would not let you hang in there in such cases. Either you wait for your main players to come back to form or you will have to give chances to newer players. I think the time has come to give new players a chance."

Test specialists Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have come under the scanner after their ordinary performances in the recently concluded New Zealand series. Whereas Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer made the most of their chances against the Kiwis by slamming a century each.

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Mayank Agarwal would be a good option for India for the number three spot: Saba Karim

While Cheteshwar Pujara has had a torrid time in Test cricket, Karim feels Mayank Agarwal could be slotted into the number three spot for India for the upcoming three-match Test series in South Africa.

He justified his suggestion by mentioning how the right-hander has the ability to play against pacers when the ball is new. As per Karim, he has also shown how well he can counter the spinners with the older ball.

He said:

"When a player has played domestic cricket for 4-5 years, then he knows how to counter spinners well. He can be a good option for the number 3 spot as he can deal with seamers with the new ball while also being able to attack the spinners."

After their emphatic series win at home against New Zealand, Virat Kohli and co. are scheduled to tour to South Africa to play three Test matches and as many ODIs, as per the newly announced schedule. The opening Test will be played at SuperSport Park in Centurion from December 26-30.

Poll : Who should be India's number 3 for South Africa Tests?

Mayank Agarwal

Cheteshwar Pujara

89 votes

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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