“If Kohli is the angry Amitabh Bachchan, then Rahane is the Amol Palekar of Indian cricket,” former Mumbai player and coach Vinayak Samant, Rahane’s roommate on the national team, nails the character for us.
Palekar is a man of substance and a talented actor who has made a name for himself with kind and modest characters with an obvious bourgeoisie; aapla normal mulga (our normal boy), as they say in Marathi, words that would describe Rahane perfectly. With the pressure of expectations diluted in the absence of Kohli and Mohammed Shami, Rahane’s ground terrain has a good chance in the second test, particularly due to the conditions in Melbourne (the MCG field should be a bit dry, and not offer a steep rebound or excessive pace).
It is the image of Rahane that this team of characters actually reflects. They may dream of being Amitabh and Kohlis, but analyze the lineup, top to bottom, and you don’t get the picture of any weird hero wading decks on fire. They look more like an ordinary man waiting for the local bus or train, ready to take a deep breath and dive into the seemingly insurmountable odds of everyday life. Like Rahane.
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“He’s not the type who talks loudly or swears with his mouth. He will speak sensibly even in high pressure situations. He doesn’t get hyperactive. He is the silent man like Palekar. I never remember it being noisy. Even if upset, he won’t show it in his reaction. This is his nature, “says Samant.
There is a popular story in the Indian dressing room, shared by Rohit Sharma in the show Breakfast with the Champions. Once, in Australia, senior players had convinced Rahane that he had to bring back the Australians who were aiming for him. “Two or three players were slipping it, saying” fuck you, play strokes and so on, Ajju went towards them and did it “- Sharma imitated Rahane, sticking out his tongue and showing it to the player, and Sharma bursts laugh in the revisit Rahane doesn’t swear with his mouth or reach out for his middle finger, sticks out his tongue.
Rahane, the sincere, sincere person who is a bit shy – who is always on time – is known but says nothing about what he would be like. Someone who has been watching him closely for two months, just recently, is Mohammad Kaif, the assistant coach of Rahane’s IPL franchise, Delhi Capitals.
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“I was really impressed. He is honest and trustworthy, two qualities that all players expect in a captain. He is a team man, and this is not just empty praise. He was unable to play XI in the opening games of this IPL and may have felt disappointed, but he never showed it. He was the most eager to train, lined up as a fresh young man, encouraging the rest. In games, he gladly came in as a substitute and gave it his all, increasing the team’s energy levels. He too often ran to give drinks, and even then he shouted a few words of encouragement.
“Total team spirit; players notice all this and take inspiration. An Indian vice-captain who does not throw a tantrum, but does everything with enthusiasm. In fact, it was I who felt compelled to tell him that his name has been discussed at every selection meeting and that we are trying to find a way to get him in, etc. he was not chosen, ”Kaif says.
Kaif was also impressed with cricket’s intelligence. “He doesn’t talk much in team meetings, but every time he said something, his opinions were spot on and therefore respected by everyone. It will also be good for young people like Mohammed Siraj; they will know that he will be patient with them and will listen to them. My gut feeling is that he is the captain of a bowler; he would respect the individuality of the bowlers, ask for feedback and then make his call. “
Rahane began to trust his instincts as captain when he led Mumbai in the U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy. It was a four-day game against Odisha, who needed 10 points for the lead in the first inning, with few wickets in hand. In the past, he has talked about how confused he was whether to go with a spinner or a fast bowler, as there was tack on the court and low bounce. He backed up his instincts and went with a quick bowler, which used the low rebound to claim all the wickets and Mumbai took the lead. One of the main lessons he learned from the one test he was captained in before (against Australia in Dharamsala in 2017), he says, was to support his instincts. In 2015, he led India on a tour of Zimbabwe for three ODI and two T20Is, which also had a learning moment for him. In the first ODI, Bhuvneshwar Kumar defended 10 runs in the last over of the chase, suffering only five. This taught him the need to support, trust and support his teammates, he said in the past.
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“I feel like he would use R Ashwin very well,” says Kaif. “I got the feeling from the IPL that he knows and respects Ashwin’s abilities a lot, and on this course in MCG, I expect him to turn to Ashwin pretty soon in the game.”
Aditya Tare, the Mumbai captain, much younger than Rahane, also spoke about her strengths and her innate sense of decency. “He likes to talk to bowlers. He had maintained such decorum that he would not have joked with the captain in the lead this time. I have always noticed that he will continue to give ideas to bowlers, he will be in the field near them. He will play his role in silence, ”says Tare.
There is a perception that Rahane will not take a stand on the issues, preferring to avoid conflict, an opinion likely attributed to him because he barely spoke for himself when he was excluded from the Indian ODI team.
Samant, who was the Mumbai manager during the stage when Rahane was captain, disagrees. “There is a misconception that it doesn’t take a stand. Some show it in public about the position they have taken and others do it in silence. Rahane is among the latter “.
Former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer rejects talk of the perceived lack of aggression. “Without it, he couldn’t have played for India for that long. It’s like (Rahul) Dravid; he won’t show it but he knows how to channel his aggression for the benefit of his game. Aggression does not mean using swear words or doing certain things openly; everyone is different. There are many quiet but very aggressive individuals. Rahane is one of them. “
Jaffer doesn’t get carried away either. “He has the temperament of a captain, has good judgment but it is still too early to judge him as a leader. It did this in IPL, but there are other factors involved in IPL. Now we will know, over the course of three tests, how good he is. It will be a difficult situation; no Virat, no Shami, no Rohit. It remains to be seen how he motivates his team. Everything is against him, the situation is adverse. “
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Kaif believes that the adverse situation will actually have a liberating effect on Rahane and Co. “Look, no one expects miracles from him, especially after the way the first Test was lost. But given the conditions in MCG, if you play slowly and don’t have that spongy tennis ball bounce seen in Adelaide, I think India has selected a good team, with Ravindra Jadeja in it. Not many will believe me, but I believe Rahane has a great chance to lead this team to victory in these conditions. “
Bollywood may have long since given up on films like Basu Chatterjee, but in the world of web series, we’ve seen a quiet comeback. A few days ago, the IMDB movie site launched its top 10 web series of the year. Second on the list, behind the Harshad Mehta series, was Panchayat, an idyllic show set in rural India, A Malgudi days meets the Wagle ki Duniya type series. Perhaps the time is ripe for Aapla Mulga Rahane, on the sports field.