Ajinkya Rahane in the last few seasons has been having a strange stint with the Indian test team. He is no longer showing the consistency that is required from an Indian number 5 batter and his good knocks are getting fewer and far in between. His career is going through some unfortunate ebbs and flows and it does hurt his admirers as Rahane is an Indian cricketer who has always been known as a great team man.
The Indian vice-captain had a great role to play in Australia in the last 2020-21 series when Virat Kohli left the tour for the birth of his first child after the 1st test. With a captain gone and team being humiliated in the 1st test with 36 allout, Rahane took over the captaincy from the MCG test and orchestrated one of the greatest fightbacks in a test series against heavy odds with a team battered and bruised by injury issues. His MCG 100 was an innings of courage and resilience and he finally led India to an epic 2-1 series win for the ages.
However, since that series and that MCG century, Rahane’s bat did not produce many runs. Only 1 half-century in the 4 test home series vs England, he could not build on starts in the WTC final and currently is having another nightmare series with 95 runs in 5 innings. Rahane did play another good knock of 61 runs in the 2nd innings at Lords which proved to be very vital for India in winning the test.
This has been Rahane’s performance pattern in recent years, one good innings followed by a cluster of low scores and quiet justifiably now questions are being raised on his spot in the side.
England’s former captain and cricket expert Michael Vaughan has expressed his dismay at Rahane’s recent performances. In a cricbuzz chat with Harsha Bhogle, Vaughan made no bones of the fact that Rahane deserves to be dropped.
Vaughan expressed his shock that Rahane is continued to be retained in spite of his poor performances. Vaughan felt that Rahane is given a longer rope as he is the vice captain of the team. He stressed that even if he is a senior he should be benched after such a cluster of low scores and should not be retained based on past reputation only. Vaughan gave the examples of the sacking of Sibley and Crawley from the England lineup after they were also failing consistently and England benefitted from a fresh face.
“Rahane is an issue. And I think when see you these things happening, you have to make changes. England made changes, they got rid of (Zak) Crawley, they got rid of (Dominic) Sibley. I think India need to make changes. England need to see a different face or two at the (Kennington) Oval, I mean Rahane, is he being backed because of his vice-captaincy? Is he being backed because he played some outstanding innings in the last few years? but consistency-wise, he just doesn’t seem to find it,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan also added that rabbits cannot bat at 8 to 11, referring to India’s long tail and the way the lower order collapses and also stressed for the inclusion of Ashwin.
It remains to be seen whether the team management takes such a strong decision to drop Rahane the vice captain from the team in the 4th test on the basis of recent performances