Rahane's elevation as captain in Zimbabwe selectors' snub to Dhoni?

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jun 30, 2015 10:14 IST

A file photo of Ajinkya Rahane leaving the field after being dismissed for 106, his maiden ODI century, during the fourth ODI between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Rahane has been appointed captain of the Indian squad to Zimbabwe, starting July 10, after senior players were rested due to fatigue. (AFP Photo)

Barely a week ago ODI skipper MS Dhoni made a harsh assessment of Ajinkya Rahane and axed him from the playing eleven during the recent disastrous Bangladesh series. On Monday, the 27-year-old was back - as the captain of the Indian team that will tour Zimbabwe.

In naming Rahane the skipper of a depleted 15-member squad that will play three one-dayers and two Twenty20 games during the nine-day tour that begins July 10, national selectors gave an eloquent thumbs-down to Dhoni for his much-criticised move.

"We are confident of Ajinkya's ability (to lead) and want him to do well," chief selector Sandeep Patil said.

One of India's post-Tendulkar finds, Rahane has demonstrated that rare quality - standing up to pace in overseas conditions.

Dhoni had effectively dubbed him a laggard in Mirpur, a game that India went on to lose. "We've seen that he plays a lot better when there is pace on a wicket. Whenever he has played at No 4 or 5, if the wicket is slow, he struggles to rotate the strike freely, especially when he is just starting his innings, he has a bit of trouble. It is not easy."

Dhoni took Rahane's number 4 slot, but a 75-ball 47 in the second ODI and a 77-ball 69 in the third put things in perspective. India were humiliated in the series 1-2.

Rahane, who has played 55 ODIs and scored 1,593 runs at an average of 30.63, may not always score at an express pace, but the omission, and Dhoni's justification, can only hurt his confidence.

Same with Cheteshwar Pujara, left out of the only Test against Bangladesh by Kohli. He was named India 'A' skipper on Monday.

Patil was clear about what the selectors thought of Rahane. "We're very happy the way his career is shaping up. He is one of the most consistent batsmen we have. We want to see the other angle (captaincy) also," he told a news conference.

Dhoni's favourite, Ravindra Jadeja, was axed after a poor run, Patil making it clear he was dropped.

Read: Ajinkya Rahane, calm leader of new era, is Zimbabwe tour captain


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