Zaheer Khan has named two possible replacements for out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane for the fourth Test – Hanuma Vihari and Suryakumar Yadav. The former pacer said the change should ‘certainly’ be made, but the choice between the two will depend on how the team management is looking at the situation.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s dipping returns came to a head in the last Test at Headingley where he continued his pattern of avoidable dismissals in both innings (18 and 10 runs), drawing criticism from all quarters. Half-centuries from Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t help Rahane’s case either as the massive middle-order collapse fell completely on his shoulders.
Speaking to Cricbuzz in this regard, Zaheer Khan said:
“We saw in the first innings of the last match the amount of pressure on the middle-order when the opening partnership didn’t get going. If you look from that perspective, there will surely be a change… Like I have said before, Ajinkya Rahane is suffering from a bit of poor run of form and that’s a position where you can think a bit out of the box.”
“Hanuma Vihari and Suraykumar Yadav are the two options you have. First they have to decide if they even want to go in that direction then it will depend on how the team management is looking at it. If I see from the way the series has gone so far, then this change should certainly be made.”
Both Vihari and Yadav have heaps of red-ball experience behind them. Vihari was one of the heroes of India’s famous draw in Sydney last year and has scored over 7200 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 55, including 21 hundreds. Yadav, on the other hand, has over 5326 first-class runs to his name at 44, including 14 tons.
“England definitely have the edge for this Test” – Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan further said the hosts will have the momentum and confidence edge over India going into this Test, courtesy of their outright win at Headingley. He explained:
“England definitely have the edge going into this Test because they are coming off such a big win. India were ahead in the series and England leveled it so things like momentum shift and confidence levels will come into play. The England camp will feel they can take the lead and put even more pressure on India for the final Test.”
The penultimate Test will kickstart, as always, at 3:30 PM IST at the Oval on Thursday.