Rahul likely to replace Dhawan for Centurion Test


India lost the first test by 72 runs and it was all because of a poor batting show by the number one test team in the world.

Benching Lokesh Rahul to open with and Murali Vijay; benching Ajinkya Rahane at No. 5 and opting for Rohit Sharma; and not roping in the tall Ishant Sharma to take advantage of the Newlands wicket still remain a topic of discussion and will continue to, perhaps, until the start of the second Test. India's loss was courtesy of the batsmen as the Indian bowlers had given them a ideal chance to start the tour on a winning note. Now, Ganguly too has questioned Kohli's decision to pick the latter saying "it is not about form". Olivier has played five Tests - all of them in 2017 - and Ngidi made his worldwide debut in a T20I game against Sri Lanka previous year but is yet to play the other two formats. "I have tremendous regard for Virat Kohli and we will see an improved performance in the next game", Ganguly added.

It can be argued that hindsight is always 20-20, and journalists and fans have the luxury of looking back with this flawless vision.

Which brings us to the question once again - will India include Rahane in the team now?

Rahane with 209 runs was the third highest run-getter behind Kohli (272 runs) and Cheteshwar Pujara (280). "Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option", Kohli said. Three of those hundreds have come against Australia (1), England (1) and New Zealand (1) while the rest are against Sri Lanka (2) and the West Indies (1).

The 29-year-old has played 19 Tests at home and amassed 1009 runs at an average of 33.63 with 3 tons and as many half-centuries.

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But if they talk about loans we are not interested because we need them. "It'll be hard to create chances against them". Looking ahead to this weekend's crucial fixture against Swansea, Benitez says he is not expecting an easy game.

But Ganguly also insisted that he will give Rohit another chance in the middle-order. India will have to bottle down and fight hard in the batting.

If Rahul finds a spot in the playing 11, he will be likely replacing Dhawan and not Vijay. Rahul because he has done well in overseas conditions.

Similarly, in the pace department, Jasprit Bumrah was handed debut straightaway with the more experienced likes of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav warming the benches. I wouldn't tinker with the bowling line-up. The Tamil Nadu batsman has had his fair share of South African dose in the last tour of India to the country, also he possesses vast longer format experience compared to Dhawan at the top which might be a valid reason to give him more time.

After the match, Kohli had defended Rohit and Shikhar's selections.

Amidst all this noise generated by various talking heads, TOI can confirm that Karnataka opener Lokesh Rahul - who sat in the first Test - will return to the playing eleven at the Centurion for the second Test match starting Saturday.