Aakash Chopra opens up on playing late, front-foot poise and negotiating extra bounce in England

The 35-year-old completed a sensational comeback with a classy 89 as he led India's fightback against Australia at The Oval.

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Aakash Chopra and Ajinkya Rahane
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Aakash Chopra and Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former India cricketer turned analyst Aakash Chopra feels that senior Indian batter Ajinkya Rahane's slightly altered technique may or may not be the best way to approach batting in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval in London. 

Ajinkya Rahane might have nearly missed reaching his 13th Test century, but Indian fans hailed him for his significant 89 runs off 129 deliveries. When the Indian batting order started to collapse, they were desperately seeking someone to hold down the fort, and that's when Rahane put on a batting masterclass. 

India lost three wickets for 50 runs before Rahane entered the field to bat. He maintained his composure and amassed a gritty partnership with Shardul Thakur. Carrying the midst of the Indian batting, the veteran struck 11 fours and a six to significantly increase the team's first-innings total. The 35-year-old completed a sensational comeback with a classy 89 as he led India's fightback against Australia at The Oval. Incidentally, this was his highest Test score since he smashed the iconic 112 against Australia back in December 2020.

In the same vein, despite his excellent knock, Chopra was not entirely satisfied by Rahane's predominately back-foot play. 

"Ajinkya Rahane has made a slight change in his technique. Both his feet stay within the crease, he is playing extremely late, which is a good thing, but he is not going forward at all. I am 50-50 with that, I am not 100% convinced that it is the right way to play. That is one way to play and then there is Virat Kohli's way, who got a wicket-taking ball for sure but could it have been negotiated better? Marnus Labuschagne also does like that - the front-foot commitment. That is why probably he gets hit a lot. You might be able to negotiate that ball better if you play it on the back foot," Chopra said on his YouTube channel, Cricket ki Chaupal.

Rahane and Shardul saved the follow-on: Chopra

Chopra also commended Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur for ensuring that Australia could not enforce the follow-on.

"Ajinkya Rahane batted extremely well. Got out in the end for sure, got a life as well. If you see before that too, there were two lbw decisions where Pat Cummins overstepped, one was Rahane and the other was Shardul. You saved the follow-on, and I feel they were anyway not going to enforce it." he added further.

Rahane’s selection in the Test squad can be attributed to the unfortunate injury of Shreyas Iyer, who established himself as a reliable number five for India in Tests. With Iyer unavailable, the opportunity had arisen for Rahane to make his comeback to the side after an 18-month absence. The return placed considerable pressure on Rahane to perform and validate his selection, as he may not have received another opportunity in the near future.

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