For a long time, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was the team’s saviour in SENA countries. But over the last two three years, with each passing series, his struggles are becoming move evident, and the average which used to be in 50s, is now just a shade over 40. Of course, he scored a ton in the Melbourne Test against Australia last year, but apart from that innings, has nothing much to show before or after that innings.
In the last six innings that he has batted in, he managed to return with scores of 5,15, 49, 27, 7 and 10. His last fifty-plus score came against England — 67 during the second Test in Chennai. His ordinary form is putting a lot of pressure on lower-middle order and once India is past the stage of Cheteshwar Pujaras and Virat Kohlis, there is no reliability shown by Rahane.
One remembers his fighting ton against the West Indies during the third Test — he scored 102. But that ton had come after a gap of 28 innings, and over two years. This is a long time for a player who is the backbone of a top teams middle-order.
Once again, in the first innings of the first Test against England at Nottingham, Rahane was run out for 5 from as many balls. That is another aspect of his game — running between the wickets — that needs improvement. It is noteworthy that, during the Adelaide Test against Australia in 2020, he was run out for 42 at a crucial juncture, where he along with Virat Kohli were batting well against the Aussies.
Eventually, after his wicket, India suffered a collapse and were bundled out for 244. Then in the second innings the team was all out for 36 only.
All in all, Rahane, though fully capable, hasn’t been able to translate it into performances consistently. If he doesn’t come up with substantial performances in this series; then there are other players who are knocking on the team’s doors too.