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Why Pujara and Rahane were DROPPED!

By RAJNEESH GUPTA
February 22, 2022 12:20 IST
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IMAGE: Senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were left out of India's squad for the two Test series against Sri Lanka next month. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
 

The Indian selectors finally lost patience with Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara as the senior duo were dropped from the Indian team for the two Test series against Sri Lanka next month.

Once the backbone of the Indian batting line-up in Tests, Rahane and Pujara have struggled for runs in the last couple of the years. The duo occupy the top two slot for the lowest average by a top order batter in Tests since 2020.

While Rahane has managed just one century in 35 innings in the last two years, Pujara has failed to go past the three-figure mark in 38 innings in the same period.

Rajneesh Gupta presents a detailed statistical analysis on why Rahane and Pujara were axed:

Pujara's struggles with the bat since 2020

The normally consistent Pujara has found runs hard to come by, managing just 973 runs in 20 Tests at an average of 26 without any century since 2020.

He was one of India's top batters between 2010-2019, -- with 5,740 runs in 75 Tests at an average of 49.

Pujara's career home record is an impressive 3,471 runs in 41 Tests at an average of 59. However, it has been dipped to 22 for just 228 runs in six Tests since 2020.

Comparisons of Pujara's career record at home and overseas from 2010-2019 and since 2020, which clearly shows how the right-hander has struggled to keep up his consistent performances.

Comparison of two phases of Pujara's career from 2010 to 2019 and since 2020:

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
2010-2019 75 124 5,740 206* 49.48 46.69 18 24 7
2020- 20 38 973 91 26.29 33.83 0 8 4

Pujara's performance at home and away between 2010 and 2019

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
Home 41 64 3,471 206* 59.84 50.61 10 18 2
Away 34 60 2,269 193 39.12 41.74 8 6 5

Pujara's performance at home and away since 2020

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
Home 6 10 228 73 22.80 41.08 0 1 2
Away 14 28 745 91 27.59 32.09 0 7 2

Pujara's performance in home Tests

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
2010-2019 41 64 3,471 206* 59.84 50.61 10 18 2
2020 onward 6 10 228 73 22.80 41.08 0 1 2

 Pujara's performance in away Tests

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
2010-2019 34 60 2269 193 39.12 41.74 8 6 5
2020 onward 14 28 745 91 27.59 32.09 0 7 2

Pujara against pace and spin between 2010 and 2019

TypeBallsRunsWicketsAverageStrike Rate
Pace 6,989 2,983 71 42.01 42.68
Spin 5,304 2,757 37 74.51 51.97

Pujara against pace and spin since 2020

TypeBallsRunsWicketsAverageStrike Rate
Pace 2,157 638 28 22.78 29.57
Spin 719 335 8 41.87 46.59

Runs have dried up for Rahane since 2020

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Comparison of two phases of Rahane's career from 2010 to 2019 and since 2020:

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
2010-2019 63 105 4,112 188 43.74 50.65 11 22 6
2020- 19 35 819 112 24.08 44.15 1 3 4

The major highlight of Rahane's career is that his away record has been better than at home. He averages 46 in 36 away Tests, as compared to his home average of 39 in 27 Tests.

Rahane's returns with the bat have diminished big time since 2020. His home average has fallen to 18 in five Tests, while his away record has dipped to 668 runs in 14 Tests at an average of 25.

Rahane's performance at home and away between 2010 and 2019

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
Home 27 42 1,493 188 39.28 49.20 4 7 2
Away 36 63 2,619 147 46.76 51.52 7 15 4

 

Rahane's performance at home and away since 2020

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
Home 5 8 151 67 18.87 47.18 0 1 1
Away 14 27 668 112 25.69 43.51 1 2 3

Rahane's performance in home Tests

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
2010-2019 27 42 1493 188 39.28 49.20 4 7 2
2020 onward 5 8 151 67 18.87 47.18 0 1 1

Rahane's performance in away Tests

 TestsInningsRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100500
2010-2019 36 63 2,619 147 46.76 51.52 7 15 4
2020 onward 14 27 668 112 25.69 43.51 1 2 3

Rahane against pace and spin between 2010 and 2019

TypeBallsRunsWicketsAverageStrike Rate
Pace 6,989 2,983 71 42.01 42.68
Spin 5,304 2,757 37 74.51 51.97

Rahane has been particularly been very good against spin, averaging 74 against the slow bowlers from 2010-2019 as compared to his average of 42 against pace bowlers.

However, he average has gone down nearly half since 2020 -- 30 against spin and 24 against pace.

Rahane against pace & spin since 2020

TypeBallsRunsWicketsAverageStrike Rate
Pace 1412 604 25 24.16 42.77
Spin 443 215 7 30.71 48.53

The selectors must have also considered the fact that Rahane and Pujara are the top two when it comes to top order batters with the lowest average since 2020.

Interestingly, Virat Kohli is fourth on the list with an average of 28 in 27 Tests.

Top-order batters with lowest average since 2020

Minimum 25 innings batted at numbers 1-6

AveragePlayerInningsRunsHighest Score10050
24.08 Ajinkya Rahane 35 819 112 1 3
26.29 Cheteshwar Pujara 38 973 91 0 8
27.00 Rory Burns (England) 30 810 132 1 5
28.14 Virat Kohli 27 760 79 0 6
29.09 Zak Crawley (England) 31 902 267 1 5
30.20 Kraigg Brathwaite (West Indies) 30 906 126 1 6
30.46 Ollie Pope (England) 32 853 135* 1 5
31.32 Dom Sibley (England) 34 971 133* 2 5
32.70 Jermaine Blackwood (West Indies) 27 883 104 1 5

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RAJNEESH GUPTA / Rediff.com

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