Former Indian opener-turner commentator Sunil Gavaskar has admitted that it is ‘heartening’ for him to see former Australian greats showering heaps of praise on stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane after he led the visitors to an eight-wicket win in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
Coming into the Test on the back of a soul-crushing defeat in Adelaide, Ajinkya Rahane had a huge task on his hands given the fact that he was without the services of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami and also because of his own form that had come under the scanner following the pink-ball Test.
However, adversity brought out a ruthless beast in Rahane as he not only led the side with aplomb courtesy of aggressive field placements and bowling changes but also with the bat as he scored a brilliant 112 in the first innings before following it up with a counter-attacking 27* in the second.
“You had to be around the Australian commentary boxes to understand the kind of admiration that was there for the way he [Ajinkya Rahane] led the team amongst some of the Australian legends who were at the commentary box,” said Sunil Gavaskar.
The former opener, however, maintained that Ajinkya Rahane needs to make way for regular skipper Virat Kohli once he returns to the side.
“Rahane is the stand-in captain and as a stand-in captain or as a stand-in batsman or a new-ball bowler or off-spinner, you try to do your best at that point of time but when the main guy is back again very fit, you make way for that guy,” Gavaskar stated.
This is not a team which will lie down and allow you to walk all over them- Sunil Gavaskar
Post India’s shellacking in Adelaide, former Australian greats had written off the Ajinkya Rahane-led outfit, claiming that the erstwhile No.1 ranked side in the world had no hope of making a comeback and that Australia will crush them 0-4.
However, India’s performance in Melbourne, where they outclassed Australia in all the three facets of the game, once again showed that they are not a team who will lie down and let the opposition walk all over them, something Sunil Gavaskar also echoed.
“Some of the former Australian cricketers were speaking about a 4-0 win, that India will be blown over etc etc. Now you know what it is. This is not a team which will lie down and allow you to walk all over them. So it augurs well for the Indian team,” Gavaskar added.
The legendary opener further pointed out that the hosts have a lot of chinks in their batting department, which they need to address if they have to stage a comeback in the series.
”The Australians have their own problems, finding a good opening pair, they need to find somebody who can get wickets when the fourth and fifth bowler is required. Even India has its own problems, they also have to think about opening batting position and in the middle order but in bowling they have nothing to worry about,” Sunil Gavaskar added.