While it may be a norm in football where the manager/coach presents his point of view even after a memorable triumph, it’s a rarity that the captain of a winning cricket team misses a post-match press conference, that too after a famous win which has raised many eyebrows.
Ajinkya Rahane’s absence from the post-match press conference has created a flutter among cricket experts and fans alike.
It would be hard to comprehend why Rahane would miss such an event, after registering one of his most memorable wins in his sporting career. The stand-in skipper has earned plaudits for not just his match winning hundred but also for the way he engineered India’s victory in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Rahane not only led from the front, but tactfully used available resources at his disposal to level the four match Test series 1-1, that too after the team recorded their worst ever Test debacle in the series opener at Adelaide. In the second Test, Rahane led a depleted side bereft of Virat Kohli and two main bowlers like Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. But he made good use of the available side with two debutants and also won the Man of the Match for his superb 112 runs, which is sure to go down as one of the great batting performances in the long format of the game.
However, post his flurry with the bat and amazing captaincy skills, the press contingent at the MCG did not get to hear from him. The press and fans were deprived of his thoughts, plans put in place to get the Aussies down and various other challenges he had faced and overcame. Everyone was keen to know how he used the resources and bowling option pairings to keep the hosts in check.
Instead, Team India’s head coach Ravi Shastri was answering on his behalf. This can only happen if Rahane was not keeping well or is indisposed. But then again, it raises doubts as there were no such signs throughout the match or even during the post-match presentation.
This isn’t the first time, when Shastri took questions from the press in post-match events. He was present after India’s historic series win in Australia in 2018-19 and also when India won the third Test in South Africa. India lost the first two Tests and Rahane was not part of the playing XI. But all along, skipper Virat Kohli was there and on many other occasions.
The last time a captain missed a post-match press conference was during India’s Tour down under in 2011-12, where the visitors were handed a whitewash 4-0 loss. Skipper MS Dhoni excused himself from the press conferences while debutant Ravichandran Ashwin fielded questions from the press.