Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has opined that captaining the national team in the last three Tests against Australia, in the absence of Virat Kohli, will pose a huge challenge for Ajinkya Rahane.
He made this observation while sharing his views about the upcoming India-Australia series in an exclusive interview on Sports Tak.
Harbhajan Singh was asked how big a Test series it will be for Ajinkya Rahane as a captain because he has even had to sit out in some of the Test matches despite being the vice-captain.
He responded that captaining the Indian team for the last three Test matches of the tour would certainly be a huge challenge for the Mumbaikar, as he has not shouldered that responsibility for almost an entire series previously.
"Yes, it will be a huge challenge for him because he has never captained for an entire tour earlier. He is a quiet person, not very expressive. He is very different than Virat Kohli."
While giving his best wishes for Ajinkya Rahane, The Turnbanator hoped that the middle-order batsman will lead by example, just like Virat Kohli, by contributing significantly the bat as well.
"So, this will be a new experience for him and it will be the start of a new innings for him. I can only give him my best wishes and hope that he will score runs and take the team forward as well, the way Virat does, leading from the front."
Harbhajan Singh hopes that Ajinkya Rahane retains his own style while captaining the Indian team
Harbhajan Singh observed that Ajinkya Rahane does not need to adopt a more aggressive demeanour and should retain his distinctive style while captaining the Indian team.
"I will just like to tell Rahane that there is no need to change his game or his nature, when you play under Virat Kohli you might also feel that you have to have the body language like him if you need to beat Australia."
He added that the Indian Test vice-captain can extract the best from the team even while retaining his calm and composed style.
"That is not neccessary, that is not Ajinkya Rahane's style, so he should know how to get the best out of the team while retaining his style."
The Chennai Super Kings spinner pointed out that the tour will also present an opportunity to Ajinkya Rahane to be back amongst the runs, considering the slightly lean patch he has had recently.
"As a batsman, he has the qualities although his confidence might be low as he has not been amongst the runs but this is an opportunity for him to actually show what he can do."
Harbhajan Singh signed off by observing that a positive result for the Indian team under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane will help the latter stake a claim for the national team's captaincy whenever the selectors would like to look beyond Virat Kohli.
"The Australian tour could be the stepping stone for him, if he does well and makes the team win, he will make himself worthy of being considered as the next Indian captain after Virat Kohli."
Ajinkya Rahane has captained the Indian team in just a couple of Test matches to date, one each against Australia and Afghanistan. He would take confidence from the fact that the Indian team emerged victorious in both these encounters and would want to continue in the same vein.
Published 19 Nov 2020, 10:42 IST