New Delhi: In an unexpected team selection for the opening Test in South Africa, the Indian think-tank of captain Virat Kohli and chief coach Ravi Shastri left vice-captain and middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane out of the playing eleven - preferring Rohit Sharma instead.
Rahane hasn't been firing of late but has a commendable overseas batting record, which is why the move left many fans on Twitter in disbelief.
Rohit Sharma's Test average in South Africa: 11.25
Ajinkya Rahane's Test average in South Africa: 69.66
Sharma IN, Rahane OUT from 1st Test in Cape Town
— Anurag Verma (@anuragvermamth1) January 5, 2018
The rise of Rohit Sharma in Indian cricket is acceptable but the fall of Ajinkya Rahane should not be by any means.#INDvSA
— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) January 5, 2018
Dropping Ajinkya Rahane has to one of the most stupidest decisions. You don’t want to drop a player because he had one bad series, that crushes his confidence completely. Plus dropping a vice captain doesn’t seem right. #SAvIND #INDvSA @ESPNcricinfo
— Rahil Shaikh (@rahil4798) January 5, 2018
I love Rohit more than anyone. But he shouldn’t play ahead of Rahane.
— RI (@Kahaanify) January 5, 2018
5 bowling options is the way forward ,a definite positive approach, but a little surprised to see #Rahane missing out for #Rohit, once again limited overs cricket form being accounted for in a Test match .Keen to see how it pans out #SAvIND
— subramani badrinath (@s_badrinath) January 5, 2018
Choosing flat track bully of limited over's cricket over a test specialist like Rahane who have scored runs in alien conditions. Only possible in India #SAvIND
— Sayan Basu (@SayanBasuTweets) January 5, 2018
Dropping Rahane in an overseas Test is as foolish as dropping Rohit in a home ODI. #SAvIND
— Rupin Kale (@Vegansportlover) January 5, 2018
— Being Msdian (@BeingMsdian25) January 5, 2018
Earlier, Jasprit Bumrah was handed his Test cap by skipper Kohli as the fast bowler made his debut in the longer version at Newlands Cricket Ground.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat. They were dealt three early blows by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But home skipper Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers struck half-centuries to revive the innings.