After staying winless for almost three years on overseas tours, the men in blue are back with a bang. The Indian cricket team has defeated England by 95 runs in the second of the five-match test series, and has definitely set the tone of the remaining matches. From Vijay’s patience to Bhuvi’s all-round show, everything worked well for them. However, there was one player in the Indian squad who laid the foundation of this victory by scoring a brisk 103 runs off 154 balls in the first innings on the track of the Mecca of cricket, and that is none other than Ajinkya Rahane.
It should be fair to say that his master class in such difficult conditions gave team India the confidence to go out for the win. In the last 6 test matches against South Africa, New Zealand and England, Rahane has shown the capability to change gears with respect to the nature of the game. His agility and positivity on the field makes me quote on five things, proving that he is the next big thing for India:
1. TRUCK LOADS OF RUNS IN DOMESTIC CIRCUIT
Admittedly, Rahane’s record in the domestic circuit has been quite outstanding. He has 20 centuries and 24 fifties in 64 matches, and is closing in on 6000+ first-class runs and scores them at an average of 60. This record is enough to prove that he is a big run machine, and he’ll get better with each run he scores.
For Mumbai, Rahane played in the top-order and now for India, he plays in the middle-order. Now that’s a very interesting thing to watch out for. If, in future, any of the Indian openers aren’t striking the ball well, he could well be promoted to the top-order to showcase the skills that he exhibited while playing for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.
3. WORKS VERY HARD ON HIS FITNESS
Rahane is one of the most flexible fielders in the Indian team after Suresh Raina. Whether it is Point, Gully, Extra Cover or Slips, he can do the job at any position. Plus, his running between the wickets is also very sharp that makes him go for more sensible shots rather than going for long hits all the time.
4. KNOWS HIS GAME REALLY WELL
Rahane’s attacking game is as good as his waiting game. In the Lords’ test against England when Bhuvi was batting alongside him, he played his natural game by rotating the strike and hitting the bad balls for boundary. But as soon as Bhuvi got out and there were not many players left, he changed gears and attacked the English pacemen to perfection. His pulls against Plunkett were a treat to watch.
5. SOLID TEMPERAMENT
This has been the most important factor that has given Rahane the nod ahead of Rohit Sharma for the test series against England. Unlike Rohit, he is not known to give his wicket away on crucial stages of the game; plus, his ability to adapt according to different situations makes him one of the best for now.
If Rahane can try to continue the above five things, I think that he’ll not be far away from becoming the next big thing. Also, being an integral member of the international side is the one factor that every individual wishes for and Rahane would surely like to come in that list.
by Sidharth Gulati