Former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer left out two top players as he picked his XI for the India Test Series opener against South Africa on December 26 at Centurion. Jaffer, who was part of the 2010/11 Indian test team that drew the series in South Africa, chose Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer for the playing XI and left out Hanuma Vihari and the veteran playmaker. Ishant Sharma.

The top order remained as planned with alternate vice-captain KL Rahul opening with Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli filling the next two places. Jaffer went on to pick Rahane as his No.5 batsman despite the veteran’s faltering career average as he dropped to 39.01, his worst since February 2014. He argued that the former vice-test captain, who is on average over 50 years old in South Africa, has experience playing. in these conditions.

“KL and Mayank will open. Pujara at number three [and] Virat Kohli at four years old. I will play Ajinkya at number five. There is a lot of debate regarding his form and between him Shreyas Iyer and Vihari. For the first test, I will definitely prefer Ajinkya because he has the experience, the skill. Yes, his recent form is questionable, but he has scored points in South Africa and knows the conditions well. And he brings a lot more to the table than just a hitter – [like leadership] when he was captain [or] as an outfielder, ”he told ESPNCricinfo.

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Iyer became his No.6 batsman against Vihari thanks to his phenomenal 105 and 65 in the Test Series opener against New Zealand last month. Vihari failed to make the list despite her three-half-century scores for India A in all three unofficial tests in South Africa.

“I will prefer Shreyas Iyer for number six because of his recent form and the way he fought against New Zealand. I will prefer him over Vihari. Vihari had a good streak with India ‘A’ , he did some really good runs in similar conditions, but it was the India A series and not the Tests, so I would prefer someone who scored points in the Tests, ”he said. Explain.

He completed his batting training with Rishabh Pant as a No.7 and Ashwin as a versatile player and chose Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj as point guards.

“Number seven would be Rishabh Pant, number eight would be Ashwin and nine ten eleven would be Bumrah, Shami and Mohammed Siraj.”

When asked about India’s chance to script the story in South Africa, Jaffer said it was a “golden opportunity” for the team to win their first round of tests in the nation arc. -in sky.

“I think even last time we had the team and the potential to win the series, but maybe the South African team was also strong because there was Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, same Hashim Amla. So their hitter is a bit weak [this time] although their bowling alley is powerful even if you compare with the last round. But definitely, the Indian team is quite strong even if Rohit and Ravindra Jadeja are not there. Even still this team is very strong and it is a golden opportunity to win the first series in South Africa. “

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