Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels it's time that Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane get his maiden Test cap in the fourth and final Test against Australia beginning in the capital Friday. "Rahane has sat out for long. It's not healthy for a player's development. I think he should play and open the innings and (Cheteshwar) Pujara should stick to No 3," Ganguly said about Rahane who has been part of the India's Test squads for about 16 months.
Ganguly felt that Shikhar Dhawan's injury might just give Rahane the much-waited opening into the team. Recalling about Suresh Raina's celebrated debut against Sri Lanka in July 2010, Ganguly said: "Yuvraj Singh was unfit then as Raina got his maiden Test cap and scored 120 -- the last century on debut before Dhawan's (in Mohali) knock."
Dhawan, who hit a record-breaking 187 on his debut at Mohali Test, was ruled out for six weeks with a fracture to his left-hand as the selectors drafted in Raina in the only change to the squad for the last Test. Ganguly further said India were in course for an unprecedented 4-0 whitewash with another spin-fare at Kotla.
"I would not be surprised if the Aussies were handed a 4-0 defeat," Ganguly told a regional TV channel. There might be a cloud of uncertainity over skipper Michael Clarke but Ganguly said, "In such times of crisis, Clarke is the right person to lead the side. "I'm not sure about the extent of his injury but if Clarke should play if he's 50-50 fit."
With Indians playing non-stop cricket, Ganguly hoped that the players remain fit for the ICC Champions Trophy in England. "It's tough for them as they have IPL and after a few days break India take on South Africa in the Champions Trophy. I just hope that all are fit to play the Champions Trophy."