India captain Virat Kohli was today (January 12) non-committal on whether vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane would play the second Test against South Africa at Centurion's Supersport Park.
29-year-old Rahane was left out of the Playing XI for the first Test in Cape Town. Rohit Sharma was preferred and Kohli justified his selection saying they picked him on current form. The right-hander scored 11 and 10 in the Test which India lost by 72 runs.
Also read: SA-India series schedule
In the pre-match press conference on Friday, when Kohli was asked about Rahane's chances of playing, he praised the Mumbai right-hander as a "quality player" but did not confirm his place.
"It is funny how things change in matter of weeks or maybe in just about five days. Before the first Test no one thought that he should be in the XI and suddenly people are looking at other options," Kohli said.
He added, "For us it is all about finding the right balance. If players fit in in the kind of balance that we want to go in as a side then they will fit in. We certainly don't go on opinions that are created outside and talk of the town and all those sort of things.
"He is a quality player, he has done well in South Africa, all conditions actually, away from home. He has probably been our most consistent and solid player away from home. I explained reasons why Rohit started ahead of him (Rahane). I am not saying Ajinkya cannot or will not start in this game. Possibilities are all open at this moment and we shall decide after practice."
Rahane has played 43 Tests scoring 2,826 runs at an average of 44.15. He has hit nine centuries and 12 fifties. In two Tests in South Africa he averages 69.66 (209 runs). He had a poor home series against Sri Lanka with just 17 runs from five innings (4, 0, 2, 1, 10).