Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer might have to wait for regular chances till seniors are around, indicates Rahul Dravid

India head coach Rahul Dravid has indicated that the team management will continue to back Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane even if Hanuma Vihari's wait for regular chances gets a tad longer

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Arijit Barua
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Hanuma and Shreyas | SportzPoint.com

India head coach Rahul Dravid has indicated that the team management will continue to back Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane even if Hanuma Vihari's wait for regular chances gets a tad longer. Pujara and Rahane are going through a lean patch in their careers. Both of them had a disappointing 2021 and their place in the team was questioned time and again.

However, some relief has come for the under-fire batters as they scored crucial half-centuries in the second innings of the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. Vihari too played an unbeaten knock of 40 in India's fourth innings target of 240 for the Proteas.

Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer might have to wait for regular chances till seniors are around, indicates Rahul Dravid | SportzPoint.com

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"Firstly I must say Vihari played really well in both innings. In the first innings, he got a nasty one and unfortunately for him. It popped up and the fielder just got his fingertips to it and really got a good catch. He batted beautifully in the second innings and that gives us confidence you know,"

Rahul Dravid said after India's seven-wicket defeat in the second Test (PTI)

The coach also praised middle-order batter, Shreyas Iyer. Iyer is warming the bench after a memorable debut against New Zealand at home late last year.

"Shreyas (Iyer) obviously done that two or three Test matches ago. He has obviously done that and they have just got to take heart from the fact that whenever they are getting opportunities, they are doing well and hopefully their time would come,"

Rahul Dravid added

Virat Kohli is set to comeback in the next game at Cape Town

The effusive praise doesn't mean that Iyer will be preferred over Rahane or Pujara in this set-up. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli is set to come back in the next game.

"If you look at some of our guys now senior players and being sort of considered senior players. They have also had to wait for their time and also have had to score a lot of runs at the start of their careers. So it happens (wait) as its nature of the sport," he said adding, "We can take a lot of heart from the manner Vihari batted in this game and that should give him a lot of confidence and that should give us a lot of confidence."

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Rahul Dravid said that Siraj is not fully fit and will take some time to recover

During the second Test, pacer Mohammed Siraj picked up a hamstring injury and managed to bowl only 15.5 overs in the match.

"Siraj is not fully fit and we need to check going forward what is his fitness status. In the next 4 days, whether he can get fit and the physio will be doing scans. As far as Hanuma Vihari's on-field hit is concerned, I am not in a position to tell the extent of the injury as I haven't had a detailed chat with the physio."

Providing an update on Siraj's fitness, Dravid said

The hosts chased down the target comfortably and won the match by 7 wickets. Proteas skipper Dean Elgar's unbeaten 96 and Rassie van der Dussen's 40 helped the hosts to get over the line.

Siraj's injury did pose a problem as the hosts chased down the fourth-innings target comfortably.

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"Losing Siraj (was a factor) as he wasn't 100 percent in the first innings," said Dravid. "We had the fifth bowler and we couldn't use him as much as we would have liked in that first innings and it did affect our strategy."

With this victory, South Africa has leveled the series 1-1. The third and final Test will be played in Cape Town from January 11.

Virat Kohli Shreyas Iyer Cheteshwar Pujara Mohammed Siraj Rahul Dravid Ajinkya Rahane Hanuma Vihari Dean Elger South Africa Vs India 2021 22