Mumbai: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday spoke against Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, stressing mainly on the fact of their overseas record.
Virat Kohli’s men began their South Africa tour on a forgettable note, after having lost the first Test by 72 runs.
"History of Rohit Sharma and history of Shikhar Dhawan in overseas conditions are not very good. You look at their records, it's like chalk and cheese when they go away and when they are in India. So you are basically depending on Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli as the two best performers in overseas conditions,” the 45-year-old was quoted saying to India Today.
"Look at Cheteshwar Pujara. His 13 of 14 Test hundreds have come in sub-continent conditions. I keep saying about KL Rahul because he has scored runs in Australia, he has scored runs in West Indies and Sri Lanka. It's not just about form, it's also about where people score runs,” he continued.
He, however, said that he hoped to see an improved performance in the second Test.
"But let's not panic too much. I was not surprised by the result. I have tremendous regard for Virat Kohli and we will see an improved performance in the next game," he added. However, he felt that much changes may not be made for the upcoming match.
"I don't think Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will change the team straightaway. There is a possibility that one of them (Ajinkya Rahane or KL Rahul) may come back. It could be Ajinkya Rahane in the middle in place of Rohit Sharma and there's a possibility of KL Rahul coming at top of the order.
“India will have to bottle down and fight hard in the batting. The wicket in Centurion will be quick as well. It will have a lot more bounce than Cape Town. It may not seam as much as Cape Town but it will be lot quicker," he commented.
Ganguly was in favour of playing with five bowlers and bringing in KL Rahul in place of Shikhar Dhawan.
“I would actually play five bowlers and play KL Rahul in place of Shikhar Dhawan. Rahul because he has done well in overseas conditions. I would give Rohit Sharma one more opportunity. I wouldn't tinker with the bowling line-up.
“All the batters have not scored runs. There's not been a single fifty from the order. You got to put this behind and try and comeback stronger in the next Test. Preparation is important and India have lost a bit there and faced not much of criticism. So India will have to fight their way into the next match,” he signed off.
India will hope to make a comeback in the second Test at Centurion, starting on Saturday.