53 runs in five innings: Ajinkya Rahane’s lean patch continues

Predictably, Cheteshwar Pujara stood by his teammate Ajinkya Rahane and feels that it will take one good innings to roar back to form.

By: PTI | Mohali | Updated: November 27, 2016 11:30 pm
Ajinkya Rahane, Ajinkya Rahane India, India Ajinkya Rahane Cricket, Rahane India Cricket, Cricket India Rahane, India cricket team, Cricket News, Cricket Ajinkya Rahane was out for a duck in the first innings of the third Test in Mohali. (Source: AP)

One of India’s most dependable batsman outside the sub-continent has hit a rough patch but Ajinkya Rahane found support from teammate Cheteshwar Pujara, who backed him to come good in the coming matches. Rahane has so far totalled 53 runs from five innings at a horrible average of 10.60.

Out of his five dismissals, the strange aspect has been his shot selection against spinners.

One might find it strange but Rahane has been dismissed by all three types of spinners. Off-spinner Moeen Ali and left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari outwitted him at batting paradise in Rajkot.

At Mohali on Sunday, it was the turn of leg-spinner Adil Rasheed to add his name to the ‘Rahane Conquerors’ list. In between even pacers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad has added to his misery at Visakhapatnam.

But it is his shot selection against spinners that is coming under scanner. Against Moeen, Rahane decided to play the cut shot against the turn to a conventional off-break and was bowled.

In the first innings, Ansari bowled a fuller delivery which he decided to play across the line and was cleaned up.  On Day 2 of the third Test, he failed to read a googly from Rashid and was caught plumb in-front.

It would be interesting to know as to what kind of words batting coach Sanjay Bangar will have for him. Rashid said later in the day that it was a gut feeling that googly will work against Rahane considering that he was having trouble playing the ball that was turning into him.

“I looked to bowl fairly straight at him (Rahane) and mix one (googly). That one just came out quite good and trapped him in front. Some time you plan, sometimes it’s just a gut feeling. Whatever it is, it is,” Rashid said after the match.

Predictably, Pujara stood by his teammate and feels that it will take one good innings to roar back to form.

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“I don’t think there is any worry for the team. The way he has batted in the past — overseas and in Indian conditions and all formats of the game, he has been a successful player. Matter of couple of innings. Once he starts scoring runs, he will be back in form. He is an important player in the team.”

May be it’s time to go back to the drawing board for India’s most dependable middle-order batsman who boasts of having scored Test hundreds at venues like MCG, Lord’s, Wellington, Colombo, Kingston.