Former India pacer Zaheer Khan has spoken about the potential severity of the injury Ajinkya Rahane sustained ahead of the second Test against New Zealand. Rahane's injury ruled him out of the match, which paved the way for Virat Kohli to return to the playing XI.
Zaheer Khan outlined that only the medical staff and Rahane can determine a timeline for his return. He felt that a minor hamstring strain should not take more than 1-2 weeks to completely heal. With the squad selection for the South Africa tour looming, Rahane will hope to be fit in time to be part of the traveling contingent.
Speaking on Cricbuzz, Zaheer Khan said:
"I think things will progress further depending on the timeline of a return being updated. It can only be determined after a proper clinical assessment. Minor hamstring injury usually takes 1-2 weeks to heal. Niggle is something that does not keep you out for long. But it is the medical team and the player himself who can give a proper timeline for a return."
Virat Kohli announced at the toss that senior trio Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma were injured. As a result, Kohli, Mohammad Siraj and Jayant Yadav made their way into the playing XI as replacements.
"I don't think this is a difficult situation" - Zaheer Khan on Rahane's injury and his spot in the Indian Test team
Despite the injury setback and a long list of players eyeing a spot in the middle order, Zaheer Khan does not believe that Rahane's place in the playing XI is under threat. Khan, however, admitted that it is a tough proposition to cement your place in the team given the impressive bench strength. He said:
"I don't think this is a difficult situation. But, it is difficult to get a place in the Indian team. The bench strength and the players performing in first-class are pushing the players in the playing XI and that is a sign of progress for a team. You will constantly have to fight for your position. The playing XI knows that they need to consistently perform if they need to remain in the team."
The likes of Hanuma Vihari, Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer have made a strong case for themselves with their impressive domestic circuit outings. Iyer retained his place at No.5 for the second Test following a triumphant debut.
Meanwhile, Vihari is part of the India A side currently touring South Africa. Yadav has been included in the Indian squad for two consecutive series, albeit as an injury replacement, and is yet to make his debut.