It has been a while since Ajinkya Rahane last impressed us all with an emphatic knock away from home as his blistering century against Australia helped India to manage a comeback. Sadly, for him, post that knock he has been utterly reticent barring the solitary 49 against New Zealand.
India has been repeatedly failing in the middle order and the latest Lords Test provides you with another answer as to why India has been so infernal. Despite a solid start from Rahul and Rohit, Pujara, Kohli and Rahane couldn’t live up to the heightened sense of billing that surrounds them.
Kohli did manage to get a start but it wasn’t close to what he is capable of. Pujara was way too brash and sacrificed his wicket needlessly, creating pressure on the Indian batting line-up. As the second day began, things spiraled out of control as India lost their last seven wickets within just 88 runs.
Pant and Jadeja managed to chime in with their own cameos but it wasn’t enough for Indians to bring forth a resistance to defy Anderson.
In this story, we will take a look at five reasons because of which Rahane has been in woeful shape for the last year.
#1 Corridor of uncertainty on the off-stump
Rahane was one of the most exotic stroke players of the Indian cricket team even a couple of years back. However, for some unknown reason, he has now been very shy in the off-stump area. Anything that is pitched in the good length zone troubles him way too frequently. He has also seemed to be very short of patience these days. After being reserved he suddenly gets valiant and throws his wicket away with bare minimum success, mostly poking at deliveries drifting away from him.
#2 Movements of the ball
Swing has lately been a bane for Rahane with the Indian batsman barely able to acclimatize himself with the movement of the ball. On most occasions, he has fallen flat with the ball drifting towards him. On occasions where it was drifting away, in an attempt to drive the ball, he has lofted it into the arms of the slip fielders or the wicket-keeper.
#3 Slow reaction
Your reaction and reflexes are an integral part of being a good batsman. It depends a lot on how quickly you can get yourself in by playing a few strokes or keep yourself in a position to defend. Rahane has been overtly slow in his reflexes and as a result, most of his nicks are a follow-through of his drives. He has also seemed very clumsy in playing those drives or pulls and that lack of speed has been another major reason for his downfall.
#4 Low on morale
It is not easy to come out in the middle and face the best bowlers in the world when you are not in your purple patch. Given India’s love for cricket and its fans going insane about anyone who underperforms, it needs a solid mental stature to deliver day in day out. The last four oppositions that India has played against are Australia, New Zealand and England twice. Australia boasts the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, one of the best triptychs of the world. New Zealand comprises Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson. The quadruplet can bring down any batting dynasty of the world. Talking about England, it has James Anderson, their old war-horse and Ollie Robinson, the newfound thrill that has proved to be pretty significant in recent times. He hasn’t really got any reprieve and there are occasions when even the best batsmen need a break. Maybe, he needs someone who can push him to be the stronger bulwark of Indian batting that he was.
#5 A proper partner
This is an external factor but an equally important one, especially in the longest format of the game. Despite the red-ball cricket being the longest format of the sport, both the batters can’t really get into a shell until it’s a do-or-die situation like the partnership of Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari. In the current status of India’s middle-order, India has lacked a stabilizing batsman and things have fallen part way too frequently with Kohli and Pujara being in dark patches as well. This is one of the reasons that push Rahane to the quandary of whether to hang in there or play strokes. The decision hasn’t been favourable in the last 15 innings.