India vs Australia WTC Final: Pluck and luck play a part in Ajinkya Rahane’s redemption | Cricket News – Times of India

After his hurricane yet pleasing 27-ball 61 for Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in the IPL, Ajinkya Rahane, while speaking to Ravi Shastri, the former India coach on TV, said, “I love playing at the Wankhede. I know the ground well. I have not played a Test here, yet.”
That word “yet”, was a bigger statement than his refreshingly liberated innings and the stroke-filled cameos he essayed throughout the IPL. It basically said, “I am not going anywhere. Not yet”.


Ajinkya Rahane becomes 13th Indian to score 5000 runs in Test cricket

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Four days before the IPL had begun, he had been dropped from BCCI’s list of centrally contracted players. Last March, he was downgraded and eventually dropped from the Test team. Only six months before, in November, he was captaining India in Kanpur vs New Zealand. But with an average of 22.60 over 13 Tests for almost two years at No.5, it was tough to justify his spot in the squad.
Also, with the kind of Bunsen pitches India had opted to play on in home Tests, in search of quick wins, there was no fallback option for him to score big runs and get confidence for tougher, away assignments. Almost all the Indian batters, barring Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant have suffered because of that.

Injuries to Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul saw him earn a surprise recall to the squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final vs Australia at The Oval when the team was announced on April 25. It sparked a meme fest on social media on how he was being picked for a Test on the basis of a few IPL performances.
India though knew what they were signing up for. Experience and pedigree. Rahane is one of those rare Indian batters, who can be considered an overseas specialist, especially when the team is down in the dumps. Durban (2013) Wellington (2014), Lord’s (2014), Bangalore (2017), Johannesburg (2018), MCG (2020), are all venues that bear the signatures of his toil. He averages 41.17 away from home with eight of his 12 hundreds coming overseas.
At home, he averages 35.73.

Many of those overseas runs have come when India were in the dumps, like they were at the Oval. They were 50 for 3 when he walked in. 71 for 4 when Virat Kohli was out and 152 for 6 when KS Bharat was cleaned up by Scott Boland off the second ball on Day Three.
He had the twin tasks of scoring runs and guiding fellow Mumbai teammate, Shardul Thakur. He did that expertly till he was dismissed for 89, caught in the gully by Cameron Green, a blinder off Pat Cummins.
Yes, Rahane rode his luck. He survived a lbw shout against Cummins when on 17 on Day Two because the bowler had overstepped. Cummins also battered his fingers with sharp, lifting deliveries from a length that needed frequent medical attention. On Day Three, he was dropped in the slips by David Warner just before lunch on 72, but in between those bits of luck, there was pluck and technical brilliance. He was playing more on the backfoot and meeting the ball late.

Cricviz suggested that his average interception points were 1.49 metres, which meant he was playing closer to his body than at any time in his career.
Rahane’s drives through covers don’t get viral like the ones played by other superstars, but the efficiency he displayed while playing the stroke was first rate.
Six of his 11 boundaries came through cover drives as he scored 33 runs through that stroke off just 12 balls.
In his attempt to play another one, he perished and was denied a well-deserved 13th Test ton. What he wasn’t denied though was the record of becoming the 13th Indian to score 5000 Test runs and genuine appreciation of everyone who watched the innings.

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