Ajinkya Rahane possesses the required leadership skills to lead the team in Virat Kohli’s absence feels Ian Chappell. Virat Kohli’s absence in last 3 tests will mean the Indian team will be left with a big void in the second, third and fourth Tests against Australia. Still, former captain, renowned commentator and columnist Ian Chappell reckons India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane will do well.
Ajinkya Rahane, India’s vice-captain in Tests, is expected to lead the team once Virat Kohli returns for the birth of his first child, and based on what he’s seen of the 32-year-old’s captaincy, Ian Chappell feels Ajinkya Rahane is a wonderful replacement for Virat Kohli.
Ajinkya Rahane Impressed Ian Chappell With Captaincy By Being Positive And Aggressive
On 25 March 2017, Ajinkya Rahane became India’s 33rd Test captain when he led the team in the 4th Test against Australia in Dharamsala due to an injury to Virat Kohli. He also led the Indian Team in the test match against Afghanistan national cricket team in the absence of Virat Kohli in 2018. Both were at home, so he will lead India for the first time at overseas against a strong Australian side in the last 3 tests where Virat Kohli will remain absent.
“As far as captaincy is concerned, I saw Ajinkya Rahane captain in one Test match against Australia when Australia were in India a few years back and it was the deciding Test match. And I was very, very impressed with Rahane’s captaincy,” he said while speaking to Michael Holding on the West Indies great’s YouTube channel.
“I thought he was very positive, very aggressive. When the game was in the balance, he always took the aggressive option and he batted well at a time when India were probably going to win anyhow but things had got a little bit shaky. And he came in and took on Pat Cummins and took them home to victory.”
Ajinkya Rahane has in the past filled in for Virat Kohli. During the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, a shoulder injury ruled Virat Kohli out of the final Test in Dharamsala. With the series tied at 1-1, Ajinkya Rahane, captaining India for the first time in Tests, led the team to an eight-wicket win, allowing India to clinch the four-Test series 2-1.
“At least, they have got a very good replacement captain. And the other thing is if Australia, I don’t think they will do this, if Australia thinks that ‘Kohli is gone home and all we have to do is turn up’, if they think like that, it will be a big mistake. I don’t think they will be complacent,” Ian Chappell added.
He led the Indian Team in the test match against Afghanistan in the absence of Virat Kohli in 2018 and India won by 1 innings and 262 runs. Ajinkya Rahane has played 65 tests averaging 42.88 with the bat.
Virat Kohli’s Unavailability Will Be A Loss, But India Have Very Good Batsmen Who Want to Take Opportunity To Cement Place: Ian Chappell
Virat Kohli’s unavailability will put pressure on Indian batting lineup against a hostile Australian attack at home. Still, Ian Chappell is confident of the abilities in India’s batsmen as the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara who was the highest run-scorer in the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy and Ajinkya Rahane himself can start fireworks besides believing it’s a wonderful opportunity for the youngsters like Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill to make a mark.
“He [Kohli] will be a big loss but they have got some very good young batsmen. India, of all the international countries, is producing very good young batsmen and that’s been the case for a while now,” he said.
“And if the young blokes take the attitude: ‘alright, Kohli is gone, so this is a great opportunity for me to win myself a permanent place in the Indian side’, then it augurs well. Yeah, no one is going to totally replace Kohli but, as you know, in a team, when you lose a star player, everybody else has got to do that little bit extra and you can make up for it,” Ian Chappell stated.
Shubman Gill is yet to play a test, while Prithvi Shaw has played in only four Tests averaging 55.83. Mayank Agarwal has featured in 11 Tests averaging 57.29.