After winning the toss in the opening Test match against South Africa, India revealed their playing XI with Ajinkya Rahane included as Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer missed. The news received mixed reactions on Twitter, as some fans felt Kohli and Rahul Dravid should rely on experience, while others said Vihari “deserved” to be selected. In support of Vihari, one fan said: “You’re talking about Shreyas, think Vihari, didn’t do anything wrong. Only played outside of India, was sent to SA as part of India A, scored decently and was still out of him. Iyer and Rahane, he deserved the most”.
You’re talking about Shreyas, remember Vihari, didn’t do anything wrong. Only played outside of India, was sent to SA as part of India A, scored decently and was still out. From him Iyer and Rahane deserved the most
— (@non_obstante) December 26, 2021
For the first test in South Africa, the Indian team management decided to choose KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal as openers. Regular opener Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the series due to a left hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, the other batters are Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli, Rahane and Rishabh Pant. The bowling department sees a spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI and five fast bowlers (Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj).
Another fan sided with Vihari, stating that his form with India A should have been enough recently to secure his roster.
“HATE IT MAN. HATE IT. Yes I know Rahane has done well in SA before but for that one reason alone he can’t be on the team. JUST LIKE THAT out,” the fan tweeted.
HATE THE HUMAN. HATE IT. Yes, I know Rahane has done well in SA before, but for that one reason alone he can’t be on the team. Vihari, who played a million balls and match-saving strokes in India. A series is left out LIKE THAT. #SAvIND
— Jaanvi (@ThatCric8Girl) December 26, 2021
One user called Kohli’s decision “daring”, but also called it “a conservative way of thinking”.
“A bold decision to support Ajinkya Rahane for Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer? Time will tell. At the moment it seems conservative thinking,” the user said.
Bold decision to support Ajinkya Rahane for Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer? Time will tell. It seems conservative at the moment.
— G Rajaraman (@g_rajaraman) December 26, 2021
Here are the other responses:
Batting first was the right decision.
That said, given the current test form of Pujara, Kohli, Rahane & Pant, they should have either played an extra batsman or dropped Rahane.
Vihari is hard done by!
— Cricketjeevi (@wildcardgyan) December 26, 2021
Surprised to see Ajinkya Rahane again. Hard on Hanuma Vihari. But to be fair, the last time he was in form he didn’t play in SA. Bigger surprise not to see Duanne Olivier in the XI. But in Marco Jansen, SA they have an angle that India doesn’t like. #SAvIND #BoxingDayTest
— S. Sudarshanan (@Sudarshanan7) December 26, 2021
It is extremely difficult for Vihari, but the reasoning behind Rahane’s selection is simple. He averages 54 in SA with 4 47+ scores in 6 inn. So, one last dance kuduthurkanga. It’s also unfair to put it entirely on Kohli as well. It is now clear that Dravid has a strong voice in team selections. https://t.co/fR5HKL2a6s
— Srini Mama (@SriniMaama16) December 26, 2021
Difficult for Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer, but Virat made a good decision by backing the veteran Ajinkya Rahane. Ajinkya has a good track record in SENA countries. Shardul provides strike depth.#AjinkyaRahane #ShreyasIyer #INDvsSA
— The Critical (@thenileshkolage) December 26, 2021
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the visitors will aim to get off to a good start and get a good first inning score.
India has never won a Test series in South Africa and their previous visit ended in a 1-2 defeat in 2018.
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