The Indian cricket fraternity is mighty impressed with the way Ajinkya Rahane has led his troop in the ongoing second Test against Australia so far. The fans as well as some experts must have been worried after Virat Kohli’s departure to attend the birth of his first child but Ajinkya Rahane did not take long to allay those fears.
Leading India in an overseas Test for the very first time, the stand-in captain made his mark with some impressive decisions in the very first session of the game after Australia won the toss and decided to bat first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. At one stage, the hosts were reduced to 38 for 3 before Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head took them to 65 for 3 at lunch.
Ajinkya Rahane started the attack with Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav and the duo bowled at good length to trouble the Australia batsmen. Bumrah provided the first breakthrough in the fifth over when he sent back Joe Burns for a duck. But despite the pacers causing the batsmen problems, Ajinkya Rahane sprung a surprise by bringing in Ravichandran Ashwin just after 10 overs and that decision proved to be a masterstroke.
In his very second over, Ashwin justified the faith shown in him by Ajinkya Rahane by dismissing Matthew Wade. And in his following over, Ashwin picked up the biggest Australian wicket by sending back world number one Test batsman Steve Smith. Ajinkya Rahane had a role in the wicket too as he had smartly positioned Cheteshwar Pujara at leg slip and Smith’s edge went straight to the fielder. Smith was out for a duck for the first time since 2016.
And as Ajinkya Rahane was impressing with his captaincy, the cricket fraternity took to Twitter to laud him for his leadership.
Here are some of the reactions to his captaincy so far:
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) December 26, 2020
Rahane's captaincy is refreshing. Aggressive & attacking, bringing on the lead spinner early. There's no way in the world Kohli would have brought Ash in to bowl early. Ash shares great camaraderie with Jinx & Che, hope that rubs on his confidence & he delivers a 20 wkt series!
— Srini Mama (@SriniMaama16) December 26, 2020
Good on Ajinkya Rahane. Spent a majority of that drinks break with his arm around Mohammad Siraj. Calming down any nerves that the debutant might still have #AusvIND
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) December 26, 2020
That was a noble first session. India came out to compete, and dominate. Rahane is a clever man, probably a better captain in terms of pure strategy than Kohli. He lacks Kohli's theatrical and intimidatory qualities–which count for a lot–but he's a man of quiet steel. #AUSvIND
— Tunku Varadarajan (@tunkuv) December 26, 2020
Fascinating session. India showed spunk, skill and ambition in lifting themselves up after the Adelaide debacle. Bumrah and Ashwin all over the Aussie batsmen. Highlight for me was Rahane’s captaincy: astute, attacking, rewarding
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) December 26, 2020
Just fascinating watching India exploit moisture in the pitch by using spinners. Brilliant move! #AUSvsIND
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) December 26, 2020
First change is a spinner. Change in captaincy obvious immediately. Kohli doesn't rate spin, Rahane does. #AUSvIND
— Anand Vasu (@anandvasu) December 26, 2020
Love Rahane's Captaincy #AUSvIND
— Appu (@Apputwts) December 26, 2020
Credit to Rahane. His captaincy has been excellent. #AusvInd
— Rahul Puri (@rahulpuri) December 26, 2020
This has been excellent captaincy from Rahane. He has been aggressive right from the word go. Ashwin has the big fish again. Smith is gone for a duck.Two wickets for a spinner in the first session of a test match at MCG is rare. Ashwin on ??.#AUSvsIND #AusvsInd #BoxingDay
— Karan (@KaranChoksi6) December 26, 2020
The idea of leadership often merges with the idea of dominance. And with Kohli, & his larger than life image, exudes that. But if you look at Rahane, and for that matter Paine, you have to look beyond the exterior and often you find men who understand the game. #AUSvIND
— Ananya Sarkar (@onnonya_tweets) December 26, 2020