'On tough pitches, he's the one who scores runs': Sunil Gavaskar names 'reliable player in crisis for India'
- India vs England: Sunil Gavaskar pointed out the improvement in the player's batting and explained the reason on why the batsman is India's most reliable man in a crisis situation.
Rohit Sharma made headlines on Day 1 of the second Test between India and England in Chennai on Saturday, but while the opening batsman emerged star of the day, the contribution of Ajinkya Rahane was equally crucial in India's recovering their innings. India were 86/3 before a century partnership between Rahane and Rohit took the score to 189/3 at the tea interval. Shortly after the break, Rahane brought up his 23rd Test fifty.
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Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar applauded Rahane for his fine effort with the bat. After the first Test, in which he had scored 1 and 0, fingers were beginning to point at the Indian vice-captain for his record at home. On Saturday, Rahane ended the debate with Gavaskar pointing out the improvement in his batting and explaining the reason on why the batsman is India's most reliable man in a crisis situation.
"I think his confidence," Gavaskar said when asked what's been different about Rahane. "On the left side (examining Rahane's second-innings dismissal in the first Test), you see that his head is more outside the off stump, and therefore he's not able to judge where or how the ball is going to move. On the right side, you can see the foot also is going straighter and therefore when the ball comes in for you to make that late adjustment, it becomes straighter. But when your foot is moving straighter, you can still make that adjustment.
"That's what he has done. That's the kind of batsman and cricketer he is, learning from mistakes. He's somebody who is such a reliable player in a crisis for India. On tough pitches, he's the one who scores runs."
While Gavaskar reckoned it was Rahane's confidence, fellow analyst Mark Butcher feels the batsman looked a lot more assured with his footwork, while calling Rahane's criticism unjustified. “The criticism was a little bit unjustified. He got a beautiful, juicy full toss to get himself off the mark. Since then, he’s been so definite in his footwork than he was in the first Test match,” Butcher explained.
"We know that Rahane can sit back in the crease. He's a short man so he doesn't mind playing those cut shots outside off stump. He's been a great follow for Rohit. He has allowed Rohit in patches to go down the wicket in that session but Rahane was the one who kept things ticking along. If India score anywhere around 400, I think it's curtains, it'll be 1-1.”