In the cricket world, Ajinkya Rahane is called fellow player Jinks. This jinks has nothing to do with English jinks which means unfortunate. Rahane is very fortunate, who has been pushing his ill-will away from Team India since his debut. In 2011, the Indian team was on a tour of England. India were eliminated by England in a four-Test series. Young Rahane joined the team for limited overs and made an international debut through the only T20 match played after the Test series. In that match, 61 runs were scored by Team India only with Rahane’s bat.
This was followed by the ODI series. First match and Rahane’s debut in ODIs. Here too he played a good innings of 44 runs. Although the victory did not come in India’s favor, but Sunil Gavaskar, who was commenting at the time, praised Rahane in one of his columns. Gavaskar wrote, Rahane is that breath of fresh air that will keep the team fresh. Great Sunny was right. The Indian players were mentally broken on that tour. But after Rahane’s arrival, it seemed that he once again had the strength to fight. That’s why Gavaskar compared Rahane to the ‘hope’ on which the world rests.
Today once again, the situation is looking somewhat similar. Team India started their tour of Australia as the winning contenders, but the story changed after the horror show in Adelaide. Team India is seen on full backfoot. Virat Kohli, the captain and the most important player of the team at a delicate turn, is also forced to return home. In such a situation, everyone’s hopeful eyes have turned to Rahane.
When Team India reached Australia tour, it was already decided that Virat will not be from the second Test and Rahane will take charge. However the circumstances were different then. Many cricket pundits had already considered India as winners in the Test series. For him, Rahane’s work was just a formality, but the wind has changed completely. Now the discussion is whether India will be able to save themselves from a clean sweep of 4-0.
Rahane will captain two or more matches in the same series for the first time. However, this situation is not new for him. When he captained the Test for the first time in 2017, there were still Australians in front. He was the decisive match in the four-Test series. Kohli was out due to injury and the team was under pressure to save defeat on their soil. Rahane took the captaincy at Dharamsala ground and along with the match, he named the series for India.
That Test is remembered for Rahane’s captaincy skills and his superb strategy. Virat still used to land with four bowlers in Tests. In his absence, Rahane also had an easy option to include a batsman, but preferred bowling rather than batting. Kuldeep Yadav took the bold decision to include the fifth bowler in the final 11. The wind also blew that Virat was not happy with this decision, but later he himself praised Rahane’s decision.
That combination of team combination is again in front of Rahane. This time perhaps more confusing than Dharamshala. A few days ago, Team India, which looked absolutely tight, seems to be scattered. It seems that there is some flaw in every department. Rahane is tasked with fixing all these. The bad start has been due to the team’s problems and the demand to hand over the opening of Shubman Gill to Prithvi Shaw is in full swing. There is also talk of replacing KL Rahul in the team in place of Virat Kohli. Most importantly, there is pressure to drop Hanuma Vihari to feed all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Want to see what Rahane does? Will he come under external pressure or once again follow his own different strategy?
Six years ago, in the Boxing-Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Rahane brutally beat Australian bowlers. He will also remember that innings. Ajinkya scored 147 runs and Team India had drawn that match. But during this time he was at the other end with Virat Kohli, who scored an innings of 169 runs. Kohli will not be this time. Now call it a misfortune or a chance for Rahane. He is at the turning point of writing a new history in Indian cricket. It is in their hands to prove that the team consists of not one, but 11 players.
Voice: Shabnam Khan