India’s victory over Australia in the Boxing Day Test has hugely impressed former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar. The legendary bowler has been showering praises over stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane for the way he led the tourists to level the series 1-1 after Adelaide horror. During a conversation with Sports Today, Akhtar stated that the character shown by Indian players under Rahane’s ‘cool’ captaincy is unparallel.
“I watched the game, one fine morning, I woke up and I saw India were getting hammered by Australia. I thought it was 369 and not 36 for 9. But it was 36 for 9. But you know, characters are exhibited in crisis,” he said.
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“The exhibition of character from the Indian team is tremendous. I think this guy is so quiet and so calm. Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t shout or do nasty things on the field, he just stays quiet and does his thing which is cool captaincy. Under his leadership, the guys suddenly performed.”
Akhtar went on to speak about how India utilized the opportunity and made a brave comeback in the absence of the players like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. “Whatever you say about Ravi Shastri, Ajinkya Rahane and the team, India’s strength is not people who are playing on the field, it’s the bench strength. They seized the opportunity and went out there and performed,” Akhtar added.
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“Getting hammered in one Test and then coming back and winning the next Test comprehensively shows the character of the team and the management. And at the same time, people are out there to win the Test match.”
With the series tied and two more Test matches to go, Pakistan legend wishes to experience some more interesting clashes in the rest of the games. The return of Rohit Sharma and David Warner is sure to make the series even more exciting, while it will be extremely crucial to see how Australia bounce back after the defeat at MCG.
“Who would have thought 10-15 years ago that Australia will get hammered by India or Pakistan or some other subcontinent team? Now it’s happening. Now, I want to see this series full of clashes. I want India to win the series because they have made a great comeback. And they have shown a lot of character and great courage. Ajinkya Rahane’s hundred is just the turnaround,” Akhtar said.