The final of the World Test Championship is less than three weeks away, and as India get ready to take on New Zealand in the much-awaited clash, most eyes will be on how some of the Indian batsmen perform in England. India head to England with a strong 20-member squad, some of whom are travelling to the UK for the first time, and some who have been there before.
While for Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Washington Sundar and Mohammed Siraj, along with a few more, this will be their maiden tour of England as international cricketers, the big three of India batting – Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara will embark on their third Test tour of the country.
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Kohli, Rahane and Pujara are expected to be the key as far as India’s batting is concerned. However, former India all-rounder Vijay Bharadwaj feels Rahane will be one under most pressure. Rahane has played 10 Tests in England, scoring 552 runs, including one century and four fifties, but Bharadwaj reckons the batsman needs to contribute more.
“Rahane will be under a lot of pressure. Rahane has, unfortunately, not lived up to the expectations. He has been struggling with consistency,” Bharadwaj told SportsKeeda in an interview.
Despite decent numbers, Rahane has managed to become one of the most scrutinised batsmen in the Indian team. Despite leading India to a 2-1 series win in Australia earlier this year, questions have been raised on his batting and form. Bharadwaj feels for Rahane to succeed in England, he needs to show a little more attacking instincts as he feels India already have players who can play the waiting game.
“Rahane should also be scoring at a faster rate as you already have Cheteshwar Pujara grinding the opposition attack and playing time. You don’t need another batsman to play slowly. When you look at the rules, a draw in the WTC final means sharing the trophy,” Bharadwaj added.
“To win the Test Championship title, you need batsmen to push the scoring rate. I know Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant will be scoring at a brisk pace and Rahane should also play positively.”