Former India cricketer Pravin Amre lashed out at skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri for dropping Test match specialist Ajinkya Rahane from the first Test match against South Africa.
The Indian batting unit imploded at Cape Town and failed to chase 208 runs as South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series.
Rahane, who is the Indian Test team's vice-captain was left out and instead Rohit Sharma was drafted into the side on 'recent form'. However, Rohit's poor technique in away conditions was exposed by the South Africans as the Mumbaikar failed to make an impact.
After the defeat, Kohli explained that Rohit was picked because of his recent purple patch at home. However, Amre begged to differ and said that replicating home success in overseas conditions is not easy and that Rahane, who had a poor home season needed the backing of the Indian team management.
"I think this is the time when Rahane needed Kohli and Shastri's backing because he had just one bad series against Sri Lanka and that too on Indian soil. When he was dropped from the ODI team after winning the Man of the Series award in the West Indies, there was no problem because he was filling in for the first team players. He was expected to make way once they returned to the team. But to drop the vice-captain of the Test team in the first Test of what is deemed as the start of the real test for Team India over the next 18 months was anything but shocking," Amre, who scored a century on Test debut in South Africa told a news website.
Kohli's reasoning was right as Rahane was out of sorts during the Sri Lanka series at home while the other batsmen made merry. However, Rahane's average in South Africa is 69.66 and Amre said that this factor alone was enough to draft in the middle-order batsman.
"You cannot replace a Test batsman because he is low on form by a limited-overs batsman because he has scored tons of runs on low and slow Indian wickets. If that was the case, there wouldn't be a term called specialists. I am one of Rahane's biggest critics when he doesn't do well. I am the mirror who needs to give him the real picture. But then, in this case, I will stand by him and say that he had trained really hard for this series.
"Hopefully, he will get to show his talent at some point in the series. I have played in South Africa myself and I can tell you that it is a different ball game when there is pace, swing and movement at the same time. I felt it was the perfect condition for Rahane to hold fort," he added.
Amre, who personally monitored Rahane's training before the series started further stated that Rahane's overseas numbers are enough to justify that he is the best player on bowler friendly pitches.
"This man has been scoring over the years on foreign soil and when one poor series sees him getting dropped, then it comes as a surprise because even against Australia in tough conditions, he not only did well, but also led the team well in Kohli's absence," he said.