Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly feels that low confidence is a big factor behind Ajinkya Rahane’s lean phase with the bat in India.
One of the batting mainstays of this Indian team, Rahane is arguably India’s best performer in overseas conditions. The right-handed batsman has amassed 1588 runs in 21 matches at an average of 51.22, including five hundreds and eight fifties outside the country. However, he is yet to prove his mettle at home. In 16 Tests that he has played at home so far, the Mumbai star has scored 954 runs at an average of 38.15, including three hundreds and as many fifties.
In the ongoing home season too, Rahane has not lived up to the expectations. He began the season on a good note, scoring 347 runs in the three-match series against New Zealand. But his form took a dip since the ODI series against the same opposition. He managed only 143 runs in five outings and his poor show continued in the subsequent Test series against England too. The 28-year old scored only 63 runs in the first three Tests before his series was cut short due to a finger injury. He made an impressive return in the one-off Test against Bangladesh, scoring 82 and 28 in two innings as the world number one team made light work of their neighbours. But his performance in the ongoing series against Australia has left a lot to be desired.
In the 6 innings so far, Rahane has managed just 160 runs with an average of 26.66. And his poor form continued in the ongoing fourth Test in Dharamsala Test where he scored 46 before succumbing to the off-spin of Nathan Lyon. The short-stay was so uncharacteristic of Rahane as right from the start of the innings he tried to get on the top of the Aussie bowlers by playing some ambitious shots.
Speaking to India Today, Ganguly said:“Ajinkya Rahane is scratchy. It is not the Rahane we have seen over a long period of time. Think about the Rahane at Lord’s (2013) where it was seaming, decking, bouncing and he just batted as if it was a different track.
“Imagine his hundreds in Australia. He is just a bit out of the place at the moment, maybe mentally… the confidence has gone down a bit because he hasn’t had a good series against England.”
“He hasn’t had a good series so far by his standards. So, his confidence level is down a bit and you can see that in his batting. I think it is not the Rahane but he is surviving, he is trying hard, he is competing…typical Mumbai khadoosness as they say. But we have seen a better Rahane. And I think once this series finishes, he will probably have to sit down and find a way to relax and get his mind back on track,” he added.