'Rahane told Shaw firmly 'Not a step more. I know nothing's wrong with you'' | Crickit

'Rahane went up to Shaw and said firmly 'Don't take one more step. I know nothing's wrong with you'': Ex-India coach

Feb 16, 2023 07:08 AM IST

Former India fielding coach R Sridhar weighed in on Rahane's captaincy, explaining how the batter, by no mean, an unauthoritative leader.

For some reason, Ajinkya Rahane's captaincy is not talked about as much as it should. Rahane captained India during the Virat Kohli era. Vice-captain of the Test side, Rahane stepped up to lead the team in the absence of Kohli – as rare as it may be – and fared rather well as captain. He was there when India needed to win the Dharamsala Test against Australia in the 2017 to make sure they recaptured the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and of course, was the man in charge during India's arguably greatest-ever Test series win of all time in 2020/21. And yet, for some rhyme or reasons, his credentials as captain have always been brushed under the carpet.

R Sridhar recalled an incident when Ajinkya Rahane saw through Prithvi Shaw(Getty)
R Sridhar recalled an incident when Ajinkya Rahane saw through Prithvi Shaw(Getty)

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Rahane was not as aggressive as Virat Kohli; neither was he as calm as MS Dhoni. Instead, put these two together and its mixture was the outcome that was Rahane the captain. Rahane always struck a balance between aggression and composure. In his book 'Coaching Beyond', former India fielding coach R Sridhar weighed in on Rahane's captaincy, explaining how the batter, by no mean, an unauthoritative leader.

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"Make no mistake; Ajinkya was not a weak character. There was this incident when Prithvi Shaw was fielding at short leg in a warm-up game in Drummoyne, Sydney. The batter went for a sweep and Prithvi got smacked. As he tried to limp off the park towards the dressing room, Ajinkya was quickly on his case. From his position at slip, he had clearly seen exactly where Prithvi had been hit, which was on the shin pad," he wrote in his book.

"Rahane went up to him and said firmly, 'Don't take one more step. No one will replace you on the field. I know nothing's wrong with you, I saw the ball hit you on your shin pad. Maybe you were waiting for an opportunity to go back inside, but that's not happening. Go back to short leg and get into position'. Prithvi knew his bluff had been called and subtly, Ajinkya had told the rest that he would brook no shenanigans. I was mightily relieved as I was the one slated to go in as substitute as we had only XI for that game."

Between 2017 and 2021, Rahane has captained India in six Tests, winning four and drawing two. He hasn't lost a single Test as India captain and although the number of matches isn’t much, Rahane's win percentage as captain is 66.66. Much like the role Rahul Dravid played during Sourav Ganguly's reign as India captain, Rahane performed a similar role in the Kohli era. Sridhar pointed out how Rahane rubbed everyone in the right manner and rued the fact that his captaincy remains under-rated.

"Ajinkya can be firm when he has to be without being harsh, which is why India have such a good record under him. he has led the team in four Tests against Australia and India have won three of them, including two away from home. That's a fantastic record for someone who doesn't get to captain often, or in a string of games. He understands the game very well. He is very easy-going and approachable, and I got the sense that the senior players feel a greater sense of responsibility when he is the captain; they start chipping in more," mentioned Sridhar.

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