Former Australia head coach Justin Langer feels that the talks of Ajinkya Rahane with Australian legend Steve Waugh ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020/21 played a significant role in the senior India batter’s comeback to the Indian Test side for the WTC Final 2023.
Rahane played a terrific hand of 89 runs in the World Test Championship Final against Australia at The Oval that not only made his comeback successful, but also helped India avoid the follow-on after Australia had piled up 469 runs.
Rahane had been out of the team for over a year, missing the important Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 at home. However, some runs under his belt in the Ranji Trophy 2023 season, followed by a sensational title-winning IPL 2023 season with CSK, where he unlocked his aggressive side and produces some scintillating knocks that paved his comeback to the side for the ultimate Test.
After being reprieved early on in his innings – Cummins had dismissed him lbw but it turned out to be a no-ball – Rahane, having entered at 50/3, played some terrific strokes and helped India out of a hole in an entertaining partnership with Shardul Thakur.
In the commentary box, former Aussie head coach Justin Langer made an interesting revelation about Ajinkya Rahane from the 2020/21 series
“Before the series started Steve Waugh, my hero, he rang me and said I was going to be transparent. I wanna be honest I’m having some conversations with Rahane…doing a bit of mentoring him leading to that series,” Langer said on air.
“Not Steve Waugh, the iceman and we saw that calmness in Rahane, we saw the way he played in that series and when I knew he was talking to Steve, it was red flags for me,” he added.
Then in the BGT 2020/21, leading in the absence of Virat Kohli after India had been bowled out for 36 in Adelaide, Ajinkya Rahane led India to a miraculous turnaround, concluding with a 2-1 series win via the breach of Australia’s fortress Gabba.
Rahane scored 89 runs at The Oval, which is his highest Test score since his century at the MCG in 2020.