Ajinkya Rahane in his Test career has seen his fair share of ups and downs. Just a few months ago, Rahane scripted a century in the 2nd Test against Australia at Melbourne, in captain Virat Kohli’s absence. He was made the captain of the team with Kohli being on paternity leave, and Rahane’s brilliant innings as the captain made him the talk of the town. With Ajinkya Rahane further leading India to series win Down Under with a team of inexperienced players, many started feeling it might be time for Kohli to hand over the Test captaincy to his deputy.
But just two months later, after an insipid showing in the home Test series against England, the fans started questioning Rahane’s place in the team. And now as India gear up for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton, a similar set of questions are following India’s Test vice-captain.
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Former India chief selector MSK Prasad has come to Rahane’s defence, and in a recent interaction, explained his importance to the team.
“I think he is too good a player to start with. Of course, he has gone through lots of ups and downs (of late) but whenever the team has been in trouble, he rises to the occasion. He has that potential. The graph is a little up and down but I don’t foresee any drastic decision being taken by team management. He will come back strongly. He is a wonderful team-man and everybody likes him a lot. Whenever Virat hasn’t played a big innings, this man has stepped up. We must not forget how he delivered as a captain and a player in Australia when many seniors were absent,” Prasad told cricket.com.
“He is a proven player and his overseas record is far superior to many of the Indian players and maybe at home he has struggled a bit. We should not be putting unnecessary pressure on him,” Prasad added.
Prasad further said players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are true soldiers of the team. He went on to describe Rahane as a ‘suicidal troop’.
“Again, We should not be putting unnecessary pressure on him. Someone like Rahane or Cheteshwar Pujara because they are true soldiers who have served Indian cricket wonderfully well for several years in the longer format. We should in fact back them.
“Such talents should never be sidelined as they are proven match-winners and complete players. Rahane is like a suicidal troop. He can go anywhere to bat for the team,” he signed off.