Vastavam web: India coach Ravi Shastri today defended the team management’s decision to leave out Ajinkya Rahane from the first two Tests in South Africa, saying Rohit Sharma was the best option going by form.One of the most successful Indian batsmen overseas in recent years, vice-captain Rahane was not picked for the Tests in Cape Town and Centurion, with the Indian team management preferring to go with limited-overs specialist Sharma on “current form”.”If Ajinkya (Rahane) had played the first Test and not done well, you would have asked me the same question about why Rohit hasn’t played. Rohit played, he didn’t do well, so you are asking me why Ajinkya didn’t play,” a defiant Shastri told reporters when queried about the selection policy.
“The same would have happened with the fast bowlers. So you have choices. The team management has discussed what is the best option. They stick by it and they go by it,” Shastri said.The India coach said on overseas tours, a team is forced to select their playing XI keeping conditions in mind.”Chopping and changing overseas is easier. In India, you don’t need to chop and change because you know what the conditions are and for which bowler to play, as opposed to what kind of track you will get,” Shastri said.
“Whether you need a bowler with bounce or you need a bowler with swing, so that’s where the chopping and changing starts,” he added.Shastri’s dig at experts came following former India opener Virender Sehwag’s criticism of skipper Virat Kohli’s selection policy.After suffering a 72-run defeat in the first Test in Cape Town, India made three changes to their playing XI with KL Rahul replacing Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, whose three-wicket burst in the first morning of the opening Test had rocked the hosts.