IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli backs his deputy Ajinkya Rahane despite criticism from ex-India players
Ajinkya Rahane, who was at the forefront in India’s historic series win against Australia last month, faced heavy backlash for his poor outing against England in the first Test in Chennai. The India Test vice-captain failed to make a mark in both the innings and was dismissed cheaply on 1 and 0 respectively.
Pointing out Rahane’s dismal show with the bat since his century in the Boxing-Day contest against Australia, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar listed out his scores and stated that a class player usually carry forwards his fine form after scoring a ton, thus minimising the pressure on his teammates.
“My issue with Rahane the captain is Rahane the batsman. After that 100 in Melbourne his scores are – 27*, 22, 4, 37, 24, 1 & 0. After a 100, class players carry their form & carry the burden of players out of form,” tweeted Sanjay Manjrekar.
My issue with Rahane the captain is Rahane the batsman.
After that 100 in Melbourne his scores are – 27, 22, 4, 37, 24, 1 & 0. After a 100, class players carry their form & carry the burden of players out of form. #INDvENG
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 9, 2021
Meanwhile, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta also expressed similar feelings and was highly critical of the 32-year-old’s show with the bat. “Ajinkya Rahane has to raise his game, there are no two ways about it. You would want your top order (to perform) and it was the first innings (where India lost the game). At the end of the day it was the 1st innings where you should have scored more runs,” Dasgupta said to Sports Today.
However, captain Virat Kohli backed his deputy and stated that he is one of the most important member of the Indian Test squad along with Cheteshwar Pujara.
“Ajinkya, and I’ve said this many a time in the past as well, that along with Pujara, he is our most important Test batsman and he’s going to continue to be. We believe in his abilities; we have believed in his abilities for a long time. He’s an impact player. If you talk about the MCG Test, he stood up and scored a hundred there when the team wanted it most,” Kohli said while addressing a virtual press-conference from Chennai.
Speaking about Rahane’s performance in the first Test, which India lost by 227 runs, the skipper said: “Here’s it’s just one Test, two innings. Today, you can put that innings aside but in the first innings, he wanted to score a boundary. It was a brilliant catch from Joe that got rid of him. So if that goes to the boundary and he gets runs, we would not have been having this conversation. There are absolutely no issues, everyone is playing really well.”