India batting legend VVS Laxman has pointed out the pattern which has become a norm with Ajinkya Rahane’s dismissals of late. Rahane, who overcame a scratchy start to reach 49, fell to New Zealand’s short-ball trap on the third day of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship in Southampton.
It was after a brief discussion with his bowler Neil Wagner that New Zealand captain Kane Williamson that the world’s top-ranked side added an extra fielder at square leg. Rahane, being the compulsive puller of the short ball, lost his patience and played a half-hearted shot to be caught by Tom Latham.
Laxman said Rahane has to understand his shortcoming and needs to work on his propensity to go after short deliveries.
“I am always impressed with Kane Williamson’s captaincy," Laxman said on Star Sports. “I thought that Ajinkya Rahane was getting his eye in, he was batting much better, he looked more assured on the crease as compared to yesterday. But this is something that has become a pattern with Ajinkya Rahane’s batting. It was the same game plan that New Zealand used against him in Christchurch. This is something he requires to understand."
“You talked about the planning between Neil Wagner and Kane Williamson. There was no fielder there on the fifth delivery, the one before he got out. And then a fielder was placed there and also near the backward short-leg. It forced Ajinkya Rahane to play half-hearted pull short. There was no conviction in that pull short and this would be something Ajinkya Rahane will be disappointed with," he added.
Laxman, who scored 8781 runs in 134 Tests for India, recalled the advice received from Sachin Tendulkar during the early part of his international career.
“I remember when I started my cricketing career, the great Sachin Tendulkar advised me that there are two areas that you have to be comfortable if you have to be successful," Laxman said.
“Number One is you know where your off stump is, you know how to play the ball when it is pitched in the corridor of uncertainty. And you also should know how to leave or defend the bouncers.
“Because if the opposition comes to know that you are a compulsive pull shot or hook shot player, they will bowl a barrage of bouncers at you and have the field set to make you play that shot. And it is always going to be a low percentage shot," he added.