Indian middle-order batsman looking to punch above his weight at home Test debut

Very watchful at his defense line, reliable Ajinkya Rahane has always been a fascinating player to watch out for, while using his feet exceptionally well of the spin bowling before hooking and pulling comfortably against a prominent bowling attack, but somehow he is lacking that approach in current scenario after having eight tons to his name in 32 Tests.

While immersing himself into the cricket ground, Rahane holds the willow to find some early respite before willing to give his 100 per cent and a much needed performance on his maiden Test debut at his home ground Wankhade.

It may sound bizarre for few, while analysing Ajinkya Rahane’s performance who’s left an outstanding impact while being known as the capable batsman by not only adapting to home and away conditions, but has been two steps ahead of his teammates including the former ones with his sheer consistency while batting at different positions in the middle-order after going through the phase of lesser rewards coming his way.

Ajinkya Rahane, has scored just 63 runs in three Tests so far at an unhealthily average of 12.60 against England. The CEAT Cricketer of the Year for 2014-15 was thrice undone by English spinners in the ongoing home series so far.

During the first Test at Rajkot, the Mumbai lad was undone in both innings when the ball was doing much and turned sharply into him and from there on, he definitely needed some kind of nourishment to relish.

In the second Test at Vizag, Rahane – who’s strong at off-side – nicked outside off deliveries of English pace spearhead Stuart Broad and James Anderson to continue his miserable run. In the third Test at Mohali, Rahane was caught plumb in front without using his feet during the first innings on Adil Rashid’s bowling.

Rahane is counted among the nine batsmen to smash a hundred while batting at four different batting positions spread over his first 22 Tests.

While coming into the fourth and final Test against South Africa during the PayTm Freedom Series in December 2015, Rahane scored 39 in his four innings before slamming twin centuries and becoming fifth Indian batter to join the honorary list in the record books.

In a recently concluded Test series against New Zealand, Rahane flogged the Kiwis bowling attack before reaching his best Test score (188). These are those tinniest and prettiest of the details that make Rahane remarkable and the horse of long-run to rely on.

After a splendid show away from home and having the appetite for runs, the stroke-maker has gone through a lean patch during his career several times.

As the Indian team enjoyed a long break before the fourth Test, that starts at the Wankhede Stadium from Thursday, Rahane was seen hitting the ball in nets to work on his loopholes.

“Asa aan, asa aan” (play it like this way…) were the words in Marathi from Rahane’s coach Pravin Amre while urging him to focus on flow of the bat during the stance.

Before spinners sent down several overs to Rahane – to work on his technique and regain the confidence, Amre while focusing on his ward sang his own praises by recalling his 57-run innings while piercing the strongest of off-side field against England at the Wankhede Stadium in 1993.

Rahane calls his childhood coach Pravin Amre at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra Kurla Complex ground on December 5 for a much-needed practice session – to overcome his rough patch.

Rolling his sleeves, Rahane has played overall 32 Tests scoring 2272 runs in 55 innings at an average of 47.33, which includes the package of eight centuries and nine fifties with four ducks and 12 single-digit scores. He has only one Man of the Match award to his name in his short Test career so far.

Let’s break it down to make it simple to understand the character Rahane is in the longest of cricket. Versatile in nature, Rahane has played 15 Tests on sub-continent wickets and amassed 960 runs in 26 innings at an average of 40 including four tons and just two fifties.

While playing 17 Tests away from the home, Rahane has scored 1312 in 29 innings at the staggering average of 54.66 with four centuries and seven half-centuries. With the trademark short of punching the balls towards square on his back foot, Rahane has plunged deep to lay emphasis on his batting and fielding skills very early into his international career with his discipline and commitment.

Being considered as one of the rising stars from India, Rahane is listed third behind legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid for ten 50-plus scores during his first 16 Tests.

Forget about his Test debut against Australia, statistically Rahane has been India’s most improved batter from December 2013 till present. The 28-year-old has been good overall and faced some major hiccups in the past Test encounters altogether before coming back with a bang, which is his quality and secret of having him in the squad.

So far so good, Rahane in 2016 is averaging 54.41 and is India’s third most successful batsman with 653 runs.

Rahane has proved himself under the testing conditions and we’re looking forward to see best in him as he walks in the middle at his home turf on Thursday, which is always crucial for the player like him – to get in and find some form.

Would positive looking Rahane get what he desires? Is a thing to watch out for! I believe he’ll deliver the right punch above his weight. With the positive vibe in dressing room, Rahane’s performance is as important as the stability of India’s No. 1 position in the ICC Test Rankings.

    Tahir Ibn Manzoor is a staffer at, who follows cricket like food after listening to running commentary on a transistor radio when he was only eight, and penned down the scorecard when he turned 11. He Tweets @TahirIbnManzoor

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