Consistency. Class. Commitment. The three ‘C’s that make a batsman an all-time great! When these 3 come together in a batsman, bowlers know they are up for something. Fielders know they are here to do nothing else except chasing leather. Fielding team’s captain know he is going to have a lot of grey hair on his head and in his beard.!! This is what defines a class batsman!
Ajinkya Rahane is blend of all 3. A technician with the bat, he has got the precision of a surgeon while finding gaps. Very few things in the world are sweeter than his timing. On the field he is 100% committed! What more can you ask from a cricketer.
Rahane made his debut against Australia at Delhi. His test career got off to poor start. In the first innings he could manage only 7. In the second innings when India needed 30 odd runs to win he had what you would call a sudden rush of blood. He skied the ball in the air and was out in a pretty disappointing fashion. Questions were raised on his temperament, not on his technique though!!
After the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahane occupied the vacant slot in India’s middle order. And since then he has been nothing less than astonishing!
In this article I would talk more about his 108 at Sabina Park vs West Indies. After bowling out WI for 196 on day 1, Rahane came out to bat at 277/3 after the wicket of KL Rahul who scored magnificent 158. He made a positive start by punishing a half volley by Jason holder to mid wicket fence. Then a hard slash got him 4 runs through third man. Just before the end of days play, Rahane used his feet to perfection, got to the pitch of the ball and smashed one straight back over bowler’s head for maximum. At stumps on Day 2 Rahane was on 43*. He flashed a short and wide delivery from Miguel Cummins through point to bring up his fifty. When his was on 64 he lost his concentration for a brief period as Holder went pass his bat numerous times. However, a slash through off side and a sublime straight drive were enough for him to regain his composure.
After Wriddhiman was trapped in front by Holder, Rahane shared a 32-run useful partnership with Mishra. An outside edge between keeper and first slip went for and brought up his 100. He smashed another six after reaching his 100. India declared on 500/9. Rahane’s innings of 108 consisting 13 fours and 3 sixes put India in a commanding position! This was his 7th test hundred, 5th outside Asia.!!
A true masterclass par excellence.!!
– by Atharva Apte