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Ajinkya Rahane: overcoming the overseas ‘Jinks’

Ajinkya Rahane1

 

Ajinkya Rahane got picked for the Indian Test squad travelling to the West Indies in the year 2011. Rahane did not make his test debut for another year and a half and in front of him saw 16 players make India debuts before him. He became the quintessential water boy of the team. As India got ready to face Australia in March 2013, Rahane finally got his chance when the opener(Shikhar Dhawan) and the stand by opener (Gambhir) both could not play because of injury and jaundice respectively. Rahane scored only 7 in his opening innings. Many probably thought that might be the end of the road for him.

Fast forward to December 2014.

Now only two things were common from his debut game: the opponents and the bowler who got him out(Lyon); but not before he added another 140 runs to his debut score. Consider this: Ajinkya Rahane has got 6 half centuries and 3 centuries in his short career of 24 innings and all these scores have come outside the subcontinent. The centuries have especially been special.

Rahane scored a magnificent 103 at Lord’s on a track which could hardly be differentiated from the greens of the turf. That match turning innings led to India’s first win at Lord’s after 28 years. He went on to score 118 in Wellington under severe swinging and seaming conditions. And most recently the epic 147 at the Melbourne cricket ground. Not to forget a brilliant 96 against Steyn and company at Durban. This brings us to a very pertinent question: Is Ajinkya Rahane the answer to India’s overseas miseries?

Fortunately or unfortunately cricket is a team game. One man’s heroics might not carry the team over the line every time. But what stands out is Rahane’s commitment to persevere and to wait patiently for his turn, two qualities needed to do be successful in Test cricket. Warming the bench for almost two years and people making debuts in dozens in front of your own eyes must not have been easy.

The answer to doing well overseas does not lie in skills all together. Temperament is the key and Ajinkya Rahane has proved it. Gavaskar and Dravid are shining examples of mental strength combined with cricketing ability.

One can only say that it augurs well for Indian cricket in the future.

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By Ashirbad Hazarika

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