Team India's senior batter Ajinkya Rahane celebrated his 35th birthday on Tuesday, June 6. He is a part of India's squad for the all-important World Test Championship (WTC 2023) final against Australia.
Ahead of the crucial encounter, members of the Indian team were seen celebrating Rahane's birthday. The BCCI shared a few pictures from the ceremony on their official Twitter account.
The veteran batter couldn't escape the cake-smashing ritual, and his face can be seen smeared with the cake. The Indian board posted:
The WTC 2023 final between India and Australia is set to commence on Wednesday, June 7, at The Oval. Ajinkya Rahane made a comeback into India's Test side after a prolonged absence after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the fixture.
Rahane impressed many with his batting exploits in the recently concluded season of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023). He mustered 326 runs across 11 innings at an average of 32.60 along with a fantastic strike rate of 172.48.
It is worth mentioning that he has performed well in domestic cricket as well, aggregating 634 runs from 11 innings at an average of 57.63. Rahane is expected to play a major role for Rohit Sharma and Co. against the Australian side in their WTC final clash.
"His mind will be a lot more free" - Sanjay Manjrekar on Ajinkya Rahane
Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar reckons that Ajinkya Rahane will head into the WTC 2023 final with a positive mindset. He stated that he expects the right-handed batter to play with a free-flowing approach.
He pointed out that Rahane was under great pressure when he played his last Test, as he was going through a lean patch and knew that he could be dropped from the team. Manjrekar feels that this won't be the case this time around for the 35-year-old, elaborating:
"He (Ajinkya Rahane) was under tremendous pressure the last time when he was playing for India. It's tough for the batter when while going out to bat if he thinks that this could be the last innings of his Test career. But I don't think he will be in that place now as he has seen life after Test cricket, almost like a retired cricketer. Now he has got the opportunity, I feel his mind will be a lot more free."
Notably, Rahane was also a part of India's playing XI against New Zealand for the inaugural WTC final in 2021. He did a fine job with the bat, delivering a crucial 49-run knock in the first innings.