It is a peculiar nickname to give to a person and more-over to a guy who was actually India's best batsman in their last overseas assignments. Ajinkya Rahane no doubt is a silent worker who likes his success of scoring runs to become his war cry, in the situation of despair.
It was this belief that was shown to him by the team management who actually not so long (in January to be exact) ago snubbed him from the Test team in favor of Rohit Sharma who was considered to be in form albeit through his recent performances.
The move obviously could not materialize because of some rather extreme conditions for batting. It also did not help that Rohit seemed to have lacked technique in those conditions. It did help in a way, as Rohit had to make way for Rahane in the third game, and he scored a match-defining 48 on a mine-field of a pitch to take India home.
He was unfortunately again out of favor in the other two formats for his country due to his inability to rotate the strike. So it would not have been wrong to think about the axe hanging over his head, which was also reinforced by his stats in the 8 Tests before this ongoing one, which paints a somber picture for anyone who looks at it.
He had just scored 149 runs in 8 Test matches at an awful average of 11.46. Some did call for his selection, which should have been on current merit and not from his exploits and the reputation that he carried through from the past that could be trusted in these tough times for his team. So it came as a nice change to see him play an important knock not just for his team but for himself to give his confidence a boost.
This beautiful game of cricket is also a game of close margins, with the dropping of Murali Vijay might have sent some warning signals across the team. And while his records did sing a very uncharacteristic melancholic tune, his innings came as a breath of fresh air.
Rahane has definitely been an underrated player for his country but when his willow starts to score runs with that understated elegance of his, the game becomes even more beautiful to watch. On the first day of the third Test match, he showed his class and elegance to the world, developed through a rigorous and determined work ethic that is mundane but relentless at the same time.
There were a few chinks in his armory of batting but again it was more of the mental thing that had to be conquered. The environment formed around this dressing room and the camaraderie of the players does show a close-knit bond between them. But with the fickle mind of the skipper used during the selections, it keeps them on their toes.
Rahane, being the fighter should embrace this challenges. He played a chance-less innings towards his well-made 81 and looked better at batting than the best batsman of the series.
So he should not concentrate on these small disfigured bricks on his wall of batting for he has to add more uniform bricks to his already established foundation to become indispensable.