Kohli backs off-colour Rahane ahead of South Africa tour

India captain Virat Kohli backed an out of sorts Ajinkya Rahane, who missed out on the second Test against New Zealand due to a side strain.

Averaging just 19.57 in the last 21 innings, Rahane has looked off-colour for quite a while now, and it has been almost a year since he scored a century against Australia in the Boxing Day Test.

While there are questions on his future, Kohli made it clear that it is not fair for anyone to judge Rahaneโ€™s form.

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โ€œI canโ€™t judge his form. No one can judge it. Only the individual knows what heโ€™s going through. We need to back them in these moments, especially when they have done well in the past. We donโ€™t have this environment where we have our players asking โ€˜what happens now?โ€™. Thatโ€™s not how we do it in the side,โ€ Kohli said, soon after winning the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium.

โ€œWe donโ€™t react to criticisms or praise, whatever happens outside doesnโ€™t affect us. We as players know what happens in the team and in our heads. Thereโ€™s a lot going on outside and we canโ€™t let those things affect the way we play. We support everybody in the side, Ajinkya or anyone. We donโ€™t take decisions based on what happens outside,โ€ the captain added.

India heads to South Africa next week for three Tests, followed by an ODI series, and with several talents emerging, there is a problem of plenty.

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โ€œThose are discussions we were going to have now with the selectors. It is a good headache to have. We have to have clarity with these things. Always good to know exactly what you want to do before heading to a series like South Africa,โ€ Kohli said.

In Mumbai, Mayank Agarwal scored a 150 and followed it up with 62. Ravichandran Ashwin picked eight wickets, while Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav, too, had significant contributions.

โ€œTo play Test cricket you need passion and intent. Indian cricket is in safe hands when you have so many people who have that. People are hungry to play Tests well. Itโ€™s nice to see youngsters want to feel what it is to play Tests. Thatโ€™s how they understand why itโ€™s called the toughest format, most respectful format. They want to do well in India and outside. That attitude is what is going to help us do better going aheadโ€ฆโ€

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