Opening woes Down Under: Fans blame poor start by Rahul & Vijay

File photo of Rahul and Murali Vijay

Chennai: Things started on a bright note for team India when they defeated Australia in the first Test held in Adelaide. However, it took a sharp U-turn, as Kohli and boys lost the very next Test in Perth by a huge margin.

Though many blame poor selection for the second Test, fans and coaches here point fingers at openers K L Rahul and Murali Vijay for the debacle.

“Our openers failed miserably in the four innings they have played so far. This was a major let down and it dented the confidence of batsmen following them,” says Praveen, a cricket enthusiast.

Rahul has scores of 2, 44, 2 and 0, while Murali Vijay has scores of 11,18, 0 and 20.

“They made an early exit forcing our best batsman in the tour so far, Cheteswar Pujara, to come and bat very early in the innings. There is tremendous pressure on his shoulders,” he adds.

Speaking to News Today, Kannan, who runs a cricket coaching academy in Madipakkam, says, “We need solid starts. If one of the openers stays at the crease for some time, he not only helps accelerate the scoring, but also ensures that the ball gets softened. It will help middle order batsmen play more comfortably. Sadly, Rahul and Vijay are clueless against outside-the-off deliveries. A series of poor scores seems to be playing on their mind. They look tentative and technically poor.”

“The major difference between India and Australia in the second Test was the way opening batsmen played. The Australian opening pair scored 112 for the first wicket in the first innings and 57 in the second innings before, the partnership was broken,” he said.

Veteran Indian opener and one of the all-time greats of the game, Sunil Gavaskar, came down hard on Rahul. He said, “Rahul should be be sent home to play in Ranji Trophy matches. He is not there with his foot work.”

With promising talent Prithvi Shaw injured, Indians have flown in Mayank Agarwal as replacement to help get the side back on track in the next Test.

But sports enthusiasts say it is unlikely that Mayank would get a chance to play in the Boxing Day Test. He lacks the experience of playing in Australia. May be, it would be Rahul and Vijay going out again one last time. But they have to score heavily, they add.

REPORT CARD

Rahul has scores of 2, 44, 2 and 0, while Murali Vijay has manged 11,18, 0 and 20 in his last four innings. Rahul was trapped LBW in 11 of his last 14 outings as opener.

M BHARAT KUMAR