It’s not easy for a batsman to bat in different batting positions and be successful at the same time. But, against all odds, Ajinkya Rahane has managed to do exactly that. The soft-spoken Mumbaikar has brought in a sense of calmness in the Indian batting order which was left with a void after the retirements of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and VVS LaXman. The selectors tried out a slew of cricketers after the retirement of these stalwarts and Rahane was one among them.
It was in 2007 when he made debut or the Indian U-19 team that toured New Zealand. Rahane hit 2 centuries in that series. He made his debut or Mumbai Ranji team in 2007 as a 19 year old. He opened the innings with Sahil Kukreja and the pair put on an opening stand of 247 with Rahane scoring 143. This knock caught the selectors’ eye and he was quickly drafted in the team for a match against Rest of India for the Irani Trophy. His form was scintillating in the 2008-2009 edition of Ranji trophy for Mumbai. He scored 1089 runs in that season and played a major role in Mumbai’s 38th Ranji title. Infact Rahane was so consistent for his state team that he scored 1000+ runs for Mumbai thrice in 5 seasons.
He was first drafted in the national team for the series against West Indies in 2011. He did have to wait for a long time before making his debut. His debut test match was nothing short for a miracle. He was drafted in to the playing eleven after Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir were injured. However, Rahane failed in his debut test and got out cheaply. Nevertheless, he was selected for the subsequent series against South Africa and Rahane grabbed this opportunity with both hands. He scored an impressive 209 runs in the series with an average of 68. This was his first major contribution for the Indian team and sealed his place in the Indian batting order.
In the initial stages of his career, Rahane was often criticized for his inconsistent displays and failure to replicate his domestic cricket and IPL heroics for the Indian team. Unfazed by his critics, Rahane went about operating as an opener, lower-order batsman, and middle order batsman. Such is his commitment towards the Indian team that he has never opposed against the captains for not letting him play in his favored batting position.
Rahane has often been compared with the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Rahane has the ability to build partnerships and though more known for his calm and composed style of batting, Rahane is no stranger to playing big-shots as it is evident in his T20 career particularly for the now defunct Rajasthan Royals team. He has brought a sense of calmness in the flamboyant and aggressive Indian batting order.
Since making his debut, Rahane has played in 28 test matches and 66 ODIs for the Indian team .He crossed 2000 runs in the ongoing test series against New Zealand. Rahane has a combined total of 10 centuries and 25 50s. Impressed by his fearless batting display, BCCI has named him as deputy to Virat Kohli. Numerous players-former and present alike have called Rahane as the Second Wall. Many people consider him the new “Mr. Dependable” of the Indian cricket team. Rahane was recently nominated for the Arjuna Award by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. He has been an example of how hard work and perseverance will eventually lead to success.