India v Australia: Acid Test for Captain Ajinky Rahane – Cricket

When Ajinkya Rahane was last captain of India on a test against Australia, in March 2017, he was at that stage in his career when he couldn’t do a little bad. Set in the lead in the decisive last game of an intensely run series following the injury of Virat Kohli, the Mumbai player led India to an impressive victory. He struck aggressively and cunningly, impressing the experts with his management and tactical awareness.

Just when everyone expected his position on the team to be absolute security, his career took an uneven path. Some situations were difficult and would make him wonder, “why me?”

That shaky phase began in January 2018. Despite an impressive foreign record, Rahane was left out of the first two tests in South Africa, in Cape Town and Centurion -India lost both. The third won in Johannesburg, after being recalled late.

He was ignored for the 2019 World Cup, he wasn’t even considered a substitute for injury despite India struggling to find 4th place. Rahane also had a bad time in the IPL that preceded the World Cup after Rajasthan Royals fired him as mid-season skipper. Things did not improve despite the move to Delhi Capitals. In the hustle and bustle around the spots, the senior player remained to perform 12 duties in the first half of the 2020 IPL. And it was one half century in the nine games he eventually played.

Without even analyzing whether he deserved those fights or how good a player he is, one can assert one thing – Rahane’s honesty and respect for the game even in those difficult times. For his coach Pravin Amrea, a former Indian striker, the game rewarded him for these two qualities in Australia.

“He is an example of respect for the game at all times. Even when he was not a member of the Delhi Capitals team, coach Ricky Ponting mentioned his work ethic and commitment to the game; maybe sometimes God will give you back. When he was not in the team, he forced himself and respected the game – that is very important. On 13 tests he was in reserve before he got a chance on the Indian team, so a lot of players came from behind and played (I can connect because I was the 12th man on 11 tests). It was not an easy journey for him; it was a lot of effort to be in this position, ”Amre said.

Amre talks about the 32-year-old remaining as a backup skipper in Australia after Kohli’s return home to paternity. It will be a proud moment on Saturday morning for Rahane, which should erase a lot of the pain suffered in the last three seasons. There is no bigger stage in world cricket than the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Going out to throw an Indian jacket is the ultimate dream of every cricket player. It can be said, it is his favorite place in Australia. He played one of his best shots here, scoring 147 on his first visit in 2014, when he dominated the 262-run four-pointer with Kohli (169). And in one day, Rahane’s best inhans at the 2015 World Cup arrived at MCG, 79 with 60 balls versus South Africa.

“It is a proud moment for me to lead India, obviously it is a great opportunity, also a responsibility, but I do not want to put pressure. I think what I want is the return of my team. So the focus is not on me, it’s all in the team and how we want to do well as a team. We are focusing on that, ”said the midfielder.

The leading role, however, could not have come to Rahane at a more challenging time. Although Kohli’s absence left a big hole in the punch, Mohammed Shami’s injury upset the balance in the bowling lineup. It will be closely monitored as it allocates its resources, influences changes in bowling and field setting.

Amre says that Rahane proved his leadership in Dharamsala. “It is not the first time he has done that. In the 2017 series we were one down, then he played well in Bengaluru … It was a home series, there was still pressure and it came down to the final game. He led the side, won the game and the series. It was a one-off game, while this time he knows that he will lead almost the entire series “, said Amre.

For Rahane, the lesson he took from the 2017 test was the importance of “supporting your instincts as a captain, stay calm under pressure, just bring back your methods that I’m really focusing on.”

Rahane is known for his calm demeanor. Ishant Sharma described him in an interview with ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday as a “bowling captain”.


In that game, India chased a low fourth-inning share and lost two early goalkeepers. Rahane countered with an undefeated 38 of 27 balls to settle the game and series. In fact, Rahane’s changing approach to punching is seen as the reason for his recent lean phase. In the Test series in New Zealand earlier this year, he spent a lot of time on the bend, but could not force the pace. His hit rate in four innings was 33.33 (46 on 127 balls), 38.67 (29 on 75), 25.93 (7 on 27) and 20.93 (9 on 43). On tour in Australia 2014-15. The strike rate was 63.54.

After touring New Zealand, former Indian skipper Dilip Vengsarkar pointed out that Rahane was shaking his stick back too much. Although he didn’t have a lot of running, coming out playing shots, he fluently led the IPL and first innings in Adelaide (42) after his century in the warm-up game.

Comparisons are inevitable with Kohli’s leadership style. Amre said: “It’s like John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, two different personalities, but both give the best results. Ultimately, they will both make the decisions the team wants. We cannot ask Rahana to become Kohli or Kohli to become Rahane. ”

His challenge will be huge at MCG, after India is focused on the lowest score of 36, not in Adelaide. “When you represent India, you are like a soldier. It is a situation like Kargil, the opposition is at the top and it is a difficult task. We should always remember what our soldiers did; such an attitude is needed, “Amre said.

“Success and failure are part of the game, but the approach will have to be strong – the media will be critical, the audience will be against you, but you have to support your skills, especially the hitting unit after what they did on the last tour and won a historic victory. “