Former India batsman Wasim Jaffer reckons Ajinkya Rahane should bat positively and aggressively to retain his big score.
Rahane, who will lead India in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur with Virat Kohli rested, has been under the scanner for his ordinary numbers for a while. However, since the start of 2020, the right-hander averages 24 in 15 Tests, where he has notched up a solitary hundred – at the MCG – and a couple of fifties.
Wasim Jaffer, though, feels Rahane’s big knock is around the corner. He highlighted that the 33-year-old allows the bowlers to get on top of him when he is approaching a big score, and that is an issue he needs to sort out.
“Getting run in [Syed] Mushtaq Ali must have helped him and he’s one of those guys when he gets runs, he gets big runs. Looking forward to him having a really good series,” Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo.
“Sometimes, I feel, he bats the best when he’s his aggressive self and that is the best he’s played. Even the hundred that he scored in Melbourne in the 2014 Test, that is how he bats the best.
“But sometimes, I feel, when he gets a big score, he goes into a defensive mode. That’s something which I have felt – he just lets the bowlers come on top of him, and that’s something which he needs to be aware of. So, if he’s his aggressive self, he plays his best cricket,” he added.
I am not concerned about my form: Ajinkya Rahane
While he is under heavy pressure to perform – and put a big individual performance – Rahane isn’t too much worried about his form. , However, he, along with Cheteshwar Pujara, will need to step up against the Kiwis in the absence of Kohli (for the first Test), Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant.
On the New Zealand series eve, Rahane asserted that some of his non-century innings have been important to the team’s cause.
“No concern. My job is to contribute for the team. And contribution doesn’t mean you score a hundred every game; 30-40-70 at a crucial moment is also an important contribution,” Rahane said on Wednesday.
“I always think about the team. I have never thought where I am going. It is an honour for me to lead the team. What happens in the future is not of concern to me. I am focusing only on how I can give my best at a given particular moment,” he added.
India will take on the Black Caps in Kanpur on Thursday.