Underfire batters, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane endured another failure in the first Test against New Zealand. The players have been going through an extended lean patch and many are questioning their place in the team. In the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, the onus of taking the team to decent totals were on Pujara and Rahane. However, they failed to shoulder the responsibility.
Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt has come down hard on the players and said they are becoming a burden on the team, adding that they should use their vast experience to deal with struggling form. “Rahane and Pujara need to apply what they have. What are they waiting for? With this amount of experience, one needs to deal with their problems on their own. They are not small children for someone to come and pat on their back. That time has passed for them. Now is the time to take the bull by the horns,” Butt said.
Butt added that Rahane needs to remind himself of the previous dips and how he came back stronger from the lows. The southpaw said that the Indian vice-captain needs to figure out ways to overcome the lean patch, adding that expecting things to happen without any effort won't work.
“You have seen enough ups and downs. Remember how you returned to form earlier. Don’t forget you are the captain (for Kanpur Test). A leader needs to charge others. If he himself is constantly searching for form, then things won’t work. Even if he is losing his battle within, he needs to come up and try something and go down fighting,” Butt added.
Butt also backed R Ashwin to take over the deputyship from Rahane. With consistent failures, Rahane's place in the team for the second Test is in doubt, especially with Virat Kohli all set to come back.