Stand-in India skipper Ajinkya Rahane impressed one and all with his batting display and tactical acumen in the visitors’ thumping eight-wicket win over Australia in the second Test at MCG.
Leading India in the absence of Virat Kohli, Rahane produced a brilliant knock of 112 which helped the team take a crucial 131-run lead in the first innings. The tourists then bowled out the hosts for 200 in their second essay and chased down the 70-run target with ease.
Hailing his shrewd leadership, former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta said he knew that Rahane will be successful at the helm of affairs.
“I knew he could do it, there’s no two ways. And it’s not just about him, there are other leaders as well. I have been an Ajinkya fan not both of his international debuts but from his first-class days because you could see someone special there,” Dasgupta told Sports Today.
Rahane also earned praise for his composure on the field. According to Dasgupta, the stand-in captain is equally aggressive as Virat Kohli but he chooses to remain calm.
“He might be quiet but that doesn’t mean he isn’t aggressive. He might be less expressive than someone like Virat, but he is equally aggressive, equally attacking, the way he thinks and handles himself. It’s just that he keeps quiet. But I have seen him leading us well. We all have seen him leading India before,” he said.
In his first match as Test captain, Rahane had led India to a series-winning victory against Australia at Dharmshala in 2017.
Recalling his first stint as captain, Dasgupta said: “We all remember how he led the team in Dharmshala. He was attacking in his mindset; his bowling changes were attacking. His team, again, was very attacking. So, I think, if you look back and see… you will get hints that he is someone who is very, very aggressive in his mindset. Obviously, his batting tells you that… the way he bats, counter-attacking more often when India is not in trouble.”
“The former cricketer also credited Rahane for keeping the players together in the act of winning the second Test against Australia.
“I didn’t really have any doubt that he can get this team together. Also, credit to the other leaders who all stood up – starting from Pujara to Ashwin to Bumrah, and Rahane got all of them together.
“When India were bowling, the bowling captain seemed to be someone else. It wasn’t Ajinkya running up to the bowlers all the time. It was Ashwin or Bumrah speaking to other bowlers; Ashwin predominantly.
“So, you got everyone involved in it and that is so important. Under crisis you have to get everyone involved and make everyone a stakeholder,” he concluded.
India had suffered a humiliating 8-wicket defeat in the opening Test. With the victory in Melbourne, they levelled the series 1-1.
The third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground from January 7.