It was a captaincy debut to remember for Ajinkya Rahane. Australia had surprised the cricketing fraternity in last year’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy by dismantling India in the first Test in Pune.
The hosts then won the following game in Bengaluru to square up the series.
Steven Smith & Co. then went on to show that the win was not a fluke by drawing the following Test in Ranchi against all the odds. The series was not set to be decided in the final Test in Dharamsala.
Ahead of the do-or-die contest, India suffered a huge blow, losing talismanic skipper Virat Kohli due to an injury.
Rahane was handed the task to lead the side in the crucial clash, and he went on to do his job with utmost aplomb. India defeated Australia to win the series 2-1.
The Mumbai star is now gearing up to lead India in another Test. Rahane will don the captain’s hat in the upcoming one-off Test against Afghanistan, starting June 14 in Bengaluru.
In a recent interview, he said he is looking forward to the start of a new season after an IPL which did not go well for him with the bat.
“I’m looking forward to it. After the IPL, it’s almost like a start of a season, so there is so much to look forward to. There are processes to be put in place on the personal front, responsibilities to be carried out (as captain in the one-off game),” he told Cricbuzz.
Rahane had made a significant impact with the bat in the last Test he had played. After being benched for the first two Tests in South Africa, he got recalled in the playing eleven for the inconsequential Johannesburg Test.
He proved his worth with a dodgy 48-run knock in the second innings on a Wanderers pitch which was nothing less than a minefield. Speaking about the knock, he said the inning was ‘immensely satisfying’.
“Two matches down in a three-match series and you get a wicket like that, you’re up against the wall, and the only way out is a fightback, it’s how you react to the situation. Absolute positive intent alone begins to matter, and that’s exactly what helped us pull off that win. On a personal front, it was immensely satisfying,” he said.
“We knew the wicket wasn’t an easy one, but it was equal for both teams. If the wicket was going to make life difficult for us, then it going to do the same to South Africa. It was an equal opportunity contest, and I thought we were phenomenal,” he added.
He further gave an insight on the knock, saying:
“It’s great that I got an opportunity on a wicket like that one. I knew I was batting really well in the nets. I could feel it. Normally you do have an idea about your game, but on a wicket like that, it’s your guts that count. When the ball goes from right next to your helmet or even if you’re sitting in the dressing room and watching your teammates bat in similar conditions, it’s very easy for someone to start thinking a bit negatively.
But in that Test, on that wicket, every batsman in the team was like ‘ok, right now I want to go out there on that wicket in this kind of a situation’. That’s exactly how even my mind was thinking too. Even a century in a different scenario would probably not give me the kind of joy that 48 did.”