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Gautam Gambhir comments on KL Rahul's captaincy in Johannesburg

Gautam Gambhir

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has given his two cents on KL Rahul's captaincy in the second Test against South Africa at the Wanderers in Johannesburg earlier this week. Regular captain Virat Kohli suffered an upper back spasm on the morning of the second Test. Thus, Rahul was appointed leader amid their bid to claim India's maiden Test series win in the Rainbow Nation. The visitors, however, lost by seven wickets as the hosts levelled the series 1-1.

Gambhir's verdict

In a conversation with Star Sports after the defeat, Gambhir said that team India suffered greatly because Kohli was missing in action.

“We definitely missed Virat Kohli the batsman," Gambhir said. "Steve Smith, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Rohit Sharma, these are the type of batters you miss. And it is difficult to find their replacement, no matter what form they are in, because the expectation remains that they will score those big runs. But Kohli the captain, we missed him as well because he is so experienced and things turn simpler for experienced captains because they have been around for long."

Gambhir also claimed that Rahul will get better if he gets more opportunities to wear the badge of the captain, adding that, however, he will need to do it fast. Gambhir also advised Rahul to ve more aggressive in terms of his field placement.

“But KL Rahul, the more time he spends, the better he will learn, but the faster he learns the better it is," Gambhir said. "This is not like ODI or T20I captaincy, which is far easier because you don't have to focus much on-field placements.

"In Test cricket, you need to buy the wickets, sometimes even gamble with your choices. Like in the case of Bavuma, had he placed three slips instead of keeping one at the cover and tempted him into playing the drive maybe there could have been an opportunity for caught behind. But he kept a deep point which was a defensive mindset and it is something that he should be told about. You need to be an aggressive captain, not by attitude, but with your field placements.”

Kohl will be back at the helm for the Cape Town tie while Rahul will get more opportunities to learn in the future as he will lead the ODI side in the three-match series against South Africa which begins from January 19 onwards.

Harbhajan wants senior batter to 'convert the fifty to hundred' for 3rd

Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh has said he did not want batter Ajinkya Rahane to be replaced in the upcoming third Test when Kohli later returns, saying that Rahane should convert the "fifty into a hundred".

"The good thing that happened in the Johannesburg Test was that runs came from Ajinkya Rahane's bat in the second innings," Harbhajan said while speaking on his YouTube channel. "I hope Ajinkya Rahane is given another chance in Cape Town. It should not happen that Virat Kohli comes in and Ajinkya Rahane is made to sit out.

"I will want Rahane to score runs, to convert the fifty to a hundred, so that his confidence will be better for the upcoming series. The sword is hanging over the necks of Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara. So, it felt good that both of them scored runs and batted with responsibility."

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