Quiet and soft-spoken are the two common description that we hear about cricketer Ajinkya Rahane from the people who knew him well before his tryst with the Indian team and rise in stature to become the mainstay of the middle-order.
Rahane still remains the “shy man” but there is nothing soft-spoken about his batting. He has transformed into a robust cricketer who always stands up and performs when the team is under pressure, in tune with the aggressive disposition of this current Indian side.
From a shy young boy to a dependable and free-scoring batsman, Rahane’s transition into one of India’s foremost cricketers is both intriguing.
There are many instances in a sportsperson’s life that trigger a change in his or her approach towards the game as well as towards life. In Rahane’s case, the change was triggered by a few decisions his father took during his formative days.
Rahane’s weakness and shyness led his father to enroll him for a karate course in Dombivali, a small suburb 50 kilometers from Mumbai. Rahane went on go to attain a junior black belt and along with it, the fighting spirit. The values—both physical and mental—he gained at the karate classes reflected on the cricket field and soon a young Rahane dominate older boys in neighbourhood cricket games and his talent was soon spotted.
His father enrolled Rahane for a cricket coaching camp in Dombivali. And his journey began. He was soon making a mark in Zilla Parishad matches.
Consistent performances in the Giles and Harris Shield cricket tournaments piqued interest among the selectors and the talented boy was brought to Mumbai. He began playing professional cricket for Esplanade Liberals cricket club. He would later go on to play for Mumbai’s other premier clubs such as MB Union and Sind Sports Club.
He quickly moved through Mumbai’s age-group teams and took the Ranji Trophy by storm as Mumbai’s star batsman. In 2011 he got a call-up to the India ODI side. Two years later he played in his maiden Test match.
In the past two years, Rahane has quickly climbed the ladder in the Indian cricket team. The fact that five of his seven centuries in Tests have come on foreign soil, speaks volumes of his batting prowess and temperament. He has amassed 1862 runs in Tests so far, at an average of 49.00, becoming one of India’s most valued middle-order batsmen.
From being frightened easily as a young boy to assuming leadership role in the Indian cricket team, Rahane has come a long way. And his journey with the Indian team has just begun.