Ganguly backs Iyer-Pandey to put pressure on Rahul: Here's why
KL Rahul has been on the receiving end after a series of inconsistent performance for India. Notably, he was benched in the second T20I against South Africa, while Shreyas Iyer was chosen in the middle order. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly feels Iyer and Manish Pandey can keep Rahul on his toes. Here's why he feels so.
Ganguly went on to clarify that since Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are the preferred openers, for now, Rahul would be pushed down. "He has lost his place in Test cricket due to indifferent form and the likes of Shreyas and Manish Pandey will keep him on his toes if he wants to hold onto the No. 4 slot," wrote Ganguly for TOI.
It should be noted that Rahul batted at the No.4 spot initially in the ICC World Cup 2019. However, Dhawan's injury pushed Rahul as an opener. While he fared well, it was not compelling, as he lost his place following the tournament, while Pandey and Iyer made the cut. Meanwhile, Iyer's twin half-centuries against Windies in the ODIs last month has cemented his spot.
Going by Rahul's current form, he has been struggling of late. While he had scored 468 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 22.28 in 2018, he has just managed to score 110 runs in the five innings this year. Also, while he managed just 69 runs in three ODI innings in 2018, he has scored 387 runs in 10 ODIs this year.
Rahul had a decent run in the World Cup but things have changed drastically since then. Meanwhile, Iyer has utilized the opportunity to his advantage to the fullest. As a result, it looks unlikely for Rahul to make an ODI return anytime soon. Nonetheless, he can focus on T20Is, where he has scored 117 runs in three matches this year.
Meanwhile, Ganguly went on to praise Iyer for his flawless form of late, asides backing him to carry his good run from the ODIs in Windies to the ongoing T20Is against South Africa. "Shreyas Iyer finds a place in the T20 squad, a reward for his good show in the 50-overs games in West Indies," said Ganguly.