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The Australian skipper Steven Smith, who saw Ajinkya Rahane leading the side in the last game during the time when Virat Kohli was absent, has termed the ‘Mumbaikar’ as more chilled out captain than his rival Virat Kohli
“No, I think they’ll be fine. I think Ajinkya Rahane will probably step up to captain their side. I thought he did a pretty good job last week (in Ranchi) when he was out on the field in Virat’s absence. So, I’m confident, he’ll be able to do a good job for them,” Steve Smith said in the pre-match press conference.
“He (Rahane) is probably a bit more chilled out, out on the field. Probably, not quite as emotional. But, no, look, I think he understands the game really well. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play a fair bit of cricket with Ajinkya, and I think he reads the game and understands the game really well. So if Virat was to miss this Test match, then I’m sure the Indian side will still be in very good hands,” the skipper of Rising Pune Supergiant said in praise of his teammate in IPL.
Virat Kohli is still not sure whether he will be the part of the Dharamsala Test. If he gives the Test match a miss, then it will be the first time when Rahane will lead the team as a full-time captain in the longest format of the game.
After analysing the risk, the Indian selectors have already called up young Shreyas Iyer to the squad as a backup of Virat Kohli. There are high chances of Iyer straightaway donning the national cap if Kohli fails to pass the fitness test.
The visiting captain showered praises on Iyer as well, who played powerful innings of 202* against Australia in the practice game before the start of the international fixtures,
“He (Iyer) is pretty aggressive and he probably hit the first ball he faced for a six if I remember correctly. The knock was on a pretty good wicket, where there was not much of pace on the wicket in Mumbai and we didn’t play any of our frontline pacers (Starc and Hazlewood). So he played really well there. It is just one game but he definitely looks like a good player for future.”
Finally, Smith also said that he is focusing on short term goals and is looking to concentrate on one ball at a time,
“I am just focussed on controlling what we can and take it one ball at a time and the process. We have to concentrate a much more than what we have been doing and it is a beautiful place in Dharamsala and it is just exciting for us as a team.”
The fourth and the final Test match of the series kicks off on March 25 at Dharamsala and the kind of show both the teams have put in till now, none of the two teams can be rated as favourites as in the final Test as it were the visitors who stood up in the first game at Pune whereas the home side crushed Kangaroos in the game that followed at Bengaluru.
It was the home side that possessed an advantage till day four in Ranchi Test before Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh forced the penultimate game to end in a draw.
It’s a must-win game for the hosts as even if the game ends in a draw, it will be Australia who will retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. So, the home side will leave no stone unturned to bring back the Trophy back to India.