KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer during South Africa Test series© AFP

As India’s tour of South Africa concludes, there remain plenty of questions that the selectors and the team management are left to answer. The performances of Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Prasidh Krishna left much to desire while a few others managed to deliver in fragments. As far as the No. 5 debate goes in the Test team, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels it’s a position that will be decided between KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer once wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant is fully fit and ready to return.

With Pant still working his way to make a comeback to the national team, Rahul was given the wicket-keeper’s role, making him the team’s go-to player behind the stumps across the three formats. But, Manjrekar feels that’s only the case till Rishabh is unavailable.

“I think he’s a guy who cares about every format. You know how he’s built to value every opportunity that he gets after he got that 100. You know, I am looking two years from now and I thought he’s really competing with Shreyas Iyer for a batting position in the middle order because the moment Rishabh Pant is fit, he becomes your keeper batter, and there’s great quality to Rishabh Pant batting and keeping as well,” he said in a chat on Star Sports.

Rahul did score a century on the tour of South Africa, reaching the triple-digit score in the first Test. But, he struggled to get enough support from the other end as India lost the match within the first three days.

“That innings was just incredible (First Test hundred). Unfortunately, you know, Dean Elgar got a 180, they got 400 because we at the time thought that 260 was gonna be enough. And that was the moment if India could have latched onto, there would have been a series win in South Africa,” he added.

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