Mumbai: After Ajinkya Rahane’s failure against England in the first Test, experts and cricket fans criticized him for scoring just 1 run in the Chennai Test. Following which Skipper Virat Kohli backed his deputy and said he was the most important Test player for the team in whites alongside Cheteshwar Pujara.
In the opening Test against England, Rahane was caught brilliantly at short cover by England skipper Root for 1 while he was bowled by James Anderson for a third-ball duck in the second innings.
In Kohli’s absence in Australia, Rahane reached the spot and made a historic comeback by scoring a century in Melbourne.
However, since then, he has not managed to score big runs on the board. Calling Rahane an ‘impact player’ for the team, Kohli said the Mumbai batsman will continue to be India’s most important player along with Pujara in Tests going forward.
“Ajinkya Rahane, I have said this many times in the past as well, along with Cheteshwar Pujara is our most important Test batsman and he is going to continue to be. We believe in his abilities, we have believed in his abilities for a long time now. He is an impact player.
“In the MCG Test, he stood up and scored a century for his team when we wanted it the most. You can see the reality of the number of innings and what happens from there, we have won the series in Australia,” Kohli told reporters on Tuesday.
Kohli recalled how Rahane played a memorable knock in Melbourne and backed him to deliver the goods.
He said, “And here’s just one Test, two innings. Today, yes, you can put that innings aside. In the first innings, he wanted to hit a four. It was a great catch from Joe Root that made him free. If that had gone for a boundary and he had scored runs, we are not having this conversation. There are absolutely no issues. Everyone is playing well, we need to execute better. Understand the conditions better, nothing is given in Test cricket and play well as a team. That’s our focus,” Kohli said.
Since scoring a ton in Melbourne, Rahane scored 4, 22, 24, 37, 1 and 0 respectively in the purest format of the game.
Most of the Indian batsmen failed to make an impact against England in the first Test where tourists dominated in all departments of the game. Playing resumed on 39/1 on the final day, the Indian team were dismissed for 192 runs.