How can a player’s quality change so quickly in the eyes of the selectors? In Rahane’s case, the cause for discussion may not be his quality but the circumstances and the direction in which the selection committee wants to take Indian cricket in the medium term.
They know what Rahane brings to the table, his experience and track record, but he was almost a backup when players like K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer were unavailable. Yashasvi Jaiswal has already made his debut, Shubman Gill has long established himself in the team and Ruturaj Gaikwad has already been included in the Test squad. All these young players have an aggressive nature, which is a prerequisite for selection these days, and have had bright seasons in the IPL in 2023. Since transition is one of the major conditions of the game, the process invariably starts with the least risky option. Virat Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma are in the same age group and have not been as prolific as they would have liked in recent times.
Talking about the captain’s place in the team is not the norm in Indian cricket and Rohit deserved a bit more time after scoring a hundred last week. Kohli, though not as fast as he used to, has scored 70+ and at least two lives and will occupy that spot for some time to come.
West Indies bowling in the Dominican Republic wasn’t too difficult, so hitting just three overs after 3/350 wasn’t memorable.
Staying in the game