This isn't a knee-jerk reaction to India's defeat. "It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he is on the other side of the off-stump". "So that is something of the unknown for us, and we'll see how it plays in the next five days".
Only Marlon Aronstam (in conjunction with Hansie Cronje) and Mitchell Johnson have been able to beat South Africa in Test matches at SuperSport Park. On the eve of the second Test, Kohli actually mocked those asking for Rahane's inclusion in the XI.
South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada may only be 22, but he has already established himself as one of the most lethal bowlers in global cricket. But he too is carrying drinks wearing the dreaded yellow bib.
Indeed, after a successful Test series against the Sri Lankans, Rohit had pushed his case even further when he hit an unprecedented third career double-century in one-day internationals, followed by a second Twenty20 worldwide hundred a few days after. India have a real challenge on their hands.
India started by serving a shocker to those predicting the playing XI.
The overwhelming majority of teams winning the toss at Centurion choose to field; 15 times in 22 Tests, emerging victorious six times, losing six, while there were the three draws against England.
Aside from sounding a touch defensive, Kohli made the mistake of comparing apples with oranges. The exclusionof Ajinkya Rahane from the team has been questioned but it seems that Kohli isn't interested in outside opionions, take that any which way you like really. Kohli felt "no one" wanted Rahane to play the last Test. In both innings, he was squared up with short deliveries and ended up offering simple looped-up catches.
Kohli and Shastri have always said that they will do what is in the best interest of the team without being swayed by external influences. Pandya wallah Rohit? Or Rohit wallah Rohit?
To drop him yet again is nearly too easy. South Africa lost their 8 wickets for just 65 runs and then Philander ran through India's batting order as they could manage only 135 runs.
In many ways, this is an ideal scenario for a team which, for the longest time, assigned more weightage to the credibility of individuals earned over time in long drawn careers. If you don't, everyone can tell (you).
Why Is Rahane sitting out? More significantly, this is now looking like a pitch where Shikhar Dhawan could have been the impact batsman India had yearned for at the top.
The results can be rewarding, but for that, the men that matter, must continue to go with their gut. Neither expert in the Sony Studios had him in their playing eleven.
"We knew that Virat was a big wicket to get, and getting him right there and then, I just strived to (enjoy it with) my boys". This made no sense.