‘He has a point to prove’: Gavaskar hopes big returns for discarded India star in WTC final, calls his role ‘crucial'
The biggest challenge for India will be to quickly adapt to the English conditions after being engaged in the rigorous two-month long IPL at home
The IPL 2023 is done and dusted and the focus now shifts to the much-anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final, where India meet Australia at The Oval from June 7. This is the second time India have qualified for the Test Championship final and have a golden opportunity to end their trophy drought at multiple team ICC event.
The biggest challenge for India will be to quickly adapt to the English conditions after being engaged in the rigorous two-month long Indian Premier League at home, a point also highlighted by batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.
Barring Cheteshwar Pujara, who spent the summers in England playing County cricket, every other member of the 16-member squad and the standby players were engaged in the IPL. However, the good news for the team is most of them are in good form, and they will hope to carry forward the momentum in England.
The match will also mark the return of Ajinkya Rahane in the Test setup, who has been recalled to the squad after a long wait of 15 months. Ever since getting dropped from the team, the former vice-captain Rahane led Mumbai in Ranji Trophy and was also part of the IPL 2023 winning squad.
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Reflecting on the hardwork and the form Rahane has displayed in the domestic circuit, Gavaskar considers him to be a crucial member in India's batting line-up. He also expects a good show from the right-handed batter, stating “he has a point to prove” after being dropped from the team.
“He’s got a lot of experience having played in England, having scored runs in England. So, yes, I think he is going to be crucial down at number 5. And yes, I do believe he has a point to prove, I still feel he has got plenty of cricket left in him, and this is a wonderful opportunity for him. I’m hoping he will be able to grab this opportunity with all the experience that he has and make a place for him back in the Indian team,” said Gavaskar on Star Sports show Follow the Blues.
Rahane had a good outing in the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy, where he accumulated 634 runs from 11 innings at a healthy average of 57.63. He also had a terrific outing in IPL 2023, finishing as the fourth highest run-scorer from the CSK camp. Rahane scored 326 runs from 11 innings at a strike-rate of 172.48.