Ajinkya Rahane’s chart was on the rise after the 2014-15 test series in Australia. He was later hailed as India’s second top hitter Virat Kohli. Rahane had done everything to deserve the acclaim.
A round of test tours in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) – the hardest places for the subcontinent hitters – had been completed, with Rahane emerging as India’s second best hitter. Only Kohli performed slightly better than him.
In 13 tests (2 in South Africa, 2 in New Zealand, 5 in England and 4 in Australia), Rahane scored 1069 runs of 25 innings and averaged 48.59. During this period, it had 3 centuries – one each in New Zealand, Australia and England – and 6 half centuries to its credit.
Kohli managed 1312 runs of 26 innings at an average of 52.48, despite a horrendous series of tests in England. It hit 6 centuries (4 in Australia) and 3 1950s. Rahane was considerably better than Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 763 points in 12 tests (24 innings) with an average of 31.79. Pujara had a lonely century and 3 fifties to his name.
After the 2014-15 Down Under tour, India played mostly indoors, smashing opponents on rotating tracks, with the pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja doing the demolition work.
Since January 2018, however, another SENA cycle has begun with South Africa as the first stop for India. Oddly, Rahane was eliminated for the first two tests in Cape Town and Centurion. The decision was made by Kohli and the team management. The reason given was Rahane’s poor form in the previous home series against Sri Lanka, where he only managed 17 runs in 3 test matches. In the previous series, in which India turned Lanka, Rahane had scored 229 points with an average of 76.33 in 3 tests.
Rahane made his comeback in the third round in Johannesburg and made an impact right away, scoring a 48th counterattack in the second inning to help India clinch a save face win over a treacherous wicket.
Since being abandoned in South Africa, Rahane’s performance in the SENA countries has significantly declined. It was a shadow of what it was in the first SENA cycle. To establish the numbers, Rahane scored 607 points in 12 tests (23 innings) in England, Australia and New Zealand with an average of 26.39. It has only 4 half centuries to its credit.
What could be the reason for such a decline? Experts believe Rahane is a trusted player and if his confidence is affected, he is unsure of his footwork.
Former Indian hitter Sanjay Manjrekar suggested: “Rahane needs to practice a lot more footwork and work on his defensive batting technique. The little forward pressure against fuller balls is a problem. He only needs to practice one. what. Get millions of balls thrown to the max. and short of a length and make a decisive movement of the feet. Big step forward for full balls and back in the crease for short balls.
Murali Kartik, meanwhile, thinks, “Australia is a tough place when you’re down. Their bowlers are on top. So you have to think about what you can do to not save the game, but win the game this time. Body language is going to be very important, both as a hitter and as a captain. ”
In addition to thinking about his line, Rahane will also have the additional responsibility of captain in Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The pressure, already intensified several times due to the 36 all out of Adelaide, will be palpable.
Earlier in the test series, Kohli had said, “I feel like this is the time for Jinks (Rahane) to really step up and perform strongly as an individual and then also as a captain. I’m sure he’ll do a great job when I’ll be gone. ”
With Kohli returning to India now more than ever, Captain Rahane will need Rahane the hitter to be successful in the next three tests.