Mumbai: Ajinkya Rahane’s case is unique. It’s not often that a cricketer who has captained India to three Test wins over Australia and scored hundreds at the iconic grounds of Lord’s and MCG finally gets to play his first Test at his home ground after 79 Tests. But then, there are few who have survived in Indian cricket after managing a rather ‘meagre’ Test average of 39.30 after that many games. In that sense, Rahane can consider himself to be plain lucky.
The prospect of playing a Test in front of his home crowd at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday — after an eight-and-a-half-year Test career — should have got Rahane excited. Instead, the Mumbaikar is staring at a future as gloomy as the Mumbai weather was on Wednesday.
Conspiracy theorists may blame the previous regime of India skipper Virat Kohli and ex-coach Ravi Shastri for denting his confidence after they dropped him for the first two Tests in South Africa in Jan 2018. But if his career is at the crossroads now, Rahane must blame himself alone. The long period of success that he enjoyed as a reliable middle-order batsman at No. 5 is history. In the 16 Tests that he has played in the last two years, Rahane averages just 24.39, with one hundred and two fifties.
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