Opinion: Ajinkya Rahane has to find a way out of this rut
- If he doesn't find his touch again, there are scores of young players waiting in the wings to take his place.
One of India's most trusted batsmen in overseas conditions, Ajinkya Rahane, found the going extremely tough in the recently-concluded Test series against New Zealand. The Mumbai batsman had scores of 46, 29, 7 and 9 in the four innings that he played. Although the 46 in the first innings of the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington promised a lot of good things, Rahane's form eventually fell away and he finished the tour with only 91 runs, which gives no indication of his stature in international cricket.
The technically sound batsman has been criticised by friends and foes alike, most noticeably by fellow Mumbai and India stalwart Dilip Vengsarkar who thinks that he should have displayed better judgement against the short ball against Neil Wagner in the second Test and chosen better shots to play.
Another former Mumbai opener and current Vidarbha professional, Wasim Jaffer, tends to think that Rahane becomes either too defensive or too aggressive in his approach while batting. Jaffer believes that treading a certain middle ground is necessary for achieving consistency in Test cricket.
Wherever his deficiencies may lay, Rahane has to seek them out and solve them before India's next Test assignment, which is not in the near future. He is one of the country's most dependable players and is also the vice-captain of the Test team.
Moreover, if he doesn't find his touch again, there are scores of young players like Shubman Gill, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair waiting in the wings for an opportunity and to take his spot. The selectors too cannot be blamed for thinking that Rahane needs some time away from Test cricket and go back to the Ranji Trophy to find form again.
In 65 Tests, the 31-year-old Rahane has scored just over 4200 runs at an impressive average of 42.88. He also has eleven centuries and 22 half-centuries to his name. He is a stalwart in his own right and it is his reputation, more than anything else that is taking a blow with each disappointing performance.
It is also important for critics to understand that every player goes through such a phase in his/ her career but how he/she bounces back from it is what ultimately differentiates the good from the best.
Published 04 Mar 2020, 11:48 IST