Ajinkya Rahane- The Underappreciated Hero of Indian cricket
Rahane has done well for India overseas in Tests.
by R Sai Author
Published - Jul 8, 2020 6:28 pm | Updated - Jul 9, 2020 12:28 pm
When we talk about the Indian Test team, Ajinkya Rahane’s name might not crop up immediately. While we celebrate the mastery of Virat Kohli and the solidity of Cheteshwar Pujara, this diminutive batsman has not got the credit that he has deserved. But then, he does not complain.
Ajinkya Rahane has emerged as the vital cog in the Indian Test side in the last decade and is a man blessed with the rare gift of timing. His balance at the crease is impeccable, his ability to read the length in a jiffy makes him an asset, and with his willow, he has carved out masterpieces that have helped his side cross the line on numerous occasions.
SENA Countries- How Rahane rose to the challenge
The places of South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia(SENA) are the toughest places to tour, especially for a sub continental batsman. Those are the places where the real caliber of a batsman comes out, where a batsman will be tested the most.
In South Africa, Rahane averages a healthy 53.20, and in the land of the kangaroos, Rahane has scored a hundred and 4 fifties. In fact, his 147 at the MCG allowed India to draw a Test they looked like losing. In New Zealand as well, Rahane’s splendid 118 at Wellington shone as the bright spark in challenging overseas conditions.
Rahane has an average of above 35 in three out of the 4 SENA countries, and while it may seem that his average in England might need improvement, it was Rahane’s magical 103 at Lords that paved the way for a famous Indian victory on English soil. And, that century also allowed him to get his name enshrined on the elusive honours board of Lord’s, an achievement that has eluded the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, and even contemporary batting Superstar Virat Kohli.
The destroyer of the West Indies
But then, if there has been one place that Rahane has loved, it has to be the West Indies. In the 8 innings that he has played in the West Indies, Rahane averages a Bradmanesque 102.80, and has scored 2 hundred and 3 fifties against the Men from the Carribean.
India have not lost a single Test match in the West Indies when Rahane has played, and his vital contribution in the middle order has paved the way for the Indian side to dominate the West Indies in their own den.
With an away average of 45.17 at the crucial No.5 position and with 7 out of his 11 Test hundreds coming away from home, Rahane has been the unsung hero of the Indian side in the last decade. Ajinkya Rahane average around 40 in 27 Test matches in India which is not great when compared to the likes of Kohli and Pujara. But then, the numbers can always improve and it is about the quality which he brings to the side with his batting especially overseas.
He has been the warrior who has guarded the Indian fortress, a man who has not been celebrated like his other Indian batting contemporaries.
Ajinkya Rahane underutilised in ODIs?
Even in ODI cricket, the diminutive right hander hasn’t been able to gain a permanent spot in the playing XI. While he has 27 scores of 50 plus in the 87 innings that he has played for the country, Rahane was shuffled up and down the order and he could not find a stable batting place for himself.
In fact, he started out as an opener in the initial phase of his career, then he was floated around in the middle order, and even batted as low as No. 7 in a couple of games. The success of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan at the top pushed Rahane to the middle order, and the right hander probably didn’t get enough chances there. He last played an ODI for India in the format way back in 2018, and since then, has only put on the whites for his side.
But then, Rahane has just brushed aside all this, and does what he loves doing. Put on the Indian jersey and bat, with grace and panache.
After all, that’s the life of an underappreciated hero, isn’t it?