Former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels has revealed that he was surprised to see Ajinkya Rahane out of the Indian team for the first Test in Cape Town against South Africa that the visitors lost by 72 runs after an abominable batting performance in the match.
Rohit Sharma was preferred over Rahane, one of India’s top overseas batsmen in the last few years, but he failed to make it count as only 21 runs came his way across two innings. Virat Kohli’s decision to keep Rahane out drew widespread criticism, and Wessels revealed he too was taken aback by that decision.
“I rate him (Rahane) highly as a Test player and he has got a good away record. He is technically very sound. So, I was surprised to see him miss out on the Test match at the start of the series,” he told CricketNext ahead of the second Test starting in Centurion from Saturday.
Wessels also backed Kohli to get back among the runs after a dry outing in Cape Town where the Indian captain got scores of 5 and 28. His discomfort on bouncy pitches once again came to the fore. However, the 60-year-old was of the opinion that Kohli’s woes will soon be over. “Well the South Africans will definitely target him in that fourth stumps channel outside off stump and get that ball to bounce. They feel they have got a chance there to get him out early in the innings. You know he is a good player and he will find his way out to counter that,” he said.
Wessels also shared his views on the topic of who is the best batsman in the world from the quartet of Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson. “I think Kohli is terrific and I like the aggressive brand of cricket he plays. I like the way he can turn a match and the impact he has across all three formats. He is definitely one of the best batsmen at the moment. I like his personality and his aggression and the way he takes the game to the opposition. I think his leadership skills have been pretty good so far and it runs on the rest of the players.
“Look it’s always difficult to compare players because they play under different conditions, in different circumstances and also for different teams. They all have been superb in modern day cricket. But Kohli is more adventurous probably than the other three. Smith is just phenomenal in the way he puts runs together at the crease, Root is very correct (in his approach) as is Williamson,” he said.