Indian Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was once deemed as one of the best Indian players in overseas conditions. He was rated even above skipper Virat Kohli. However, the last few years have not been that productive for Rahane. Even though he has played a couple of match-winning knocks, the consistency that we expect from Rahane was not there.
Rahane averaged 22.75, 38.29 and 18.67 in his last three series against New Zealand, Australia and England respectively. Even in the World Test Championship final, Rahane didn’t trouble the scorers much. He did score 49 in the first inning but it was not sufficient.
Former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta feels that Rahane is not the same player he used to be five-six years ago. Dasgupta said Rahane had scored more than 4000 runs before making his debut for India and was unbelievably good back in the days when he batted at the No 3 position for Mumbai. However, he seems to have lost his magical touch now. Dasgupta added Rahane looks unsure with his footwork.
“I don’t think Rahane is the same player that he was. In 2015-16, Rahane was unbelievable. He was a player that I saw playing for Mumbai. The Wankhede pitch on the first morning was moist, the pitch had grass and it was a nightmare batting there those days. But Rahane scored more than 4000-4500 runs before playing for India, batting predominantly at No.3 position,” said Dasgupta on his YouTube channel on Saturday.
“When you bat in India, your skill set changes. You play swing and pace outside but here (England) you need to play reverse swing. If you go and check Rahane’s footwork in 2015-16, you will realise that (now) his footwork is not that definite. He is very tentative in his first 20 balls and whenever he plays a big innings, he is a lot more confident.”
The Indian team is currently on a break and will return to action on July 20 when they play a warm-up match that will serve as a preparation for the marquee series. Apart from Rahane, the form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli is a cause of concern. Also, the injury to Shubman Gill has got India into a tricky position. The Indian management has hinted they might get Mayank Agarwal to open with Rohit Sharma while one of KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari will play in the middle order. Meanwhile, the England series may be the final opportunity for Ajinkya Rahane to save his place in the Test squad.
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