‘Virat Kohli informed me he’s not fit’: When Ajinkya Rahane led India to Test win over Australia in 2017
Ajinkya Rahane was named the captain of the team in the important match against Australia 2017. Recalling the moment, the batsman said that it was a special occasion for him to lead the Indian troops in the longest format.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 08:24 IST
Becoming the captain of the Test team is a dream for most cricketers. Indian cricket team has seen several big names taking the mantle over the years - from Sunil Gavaskar to Kapil Dev; from Mohammad Azharuddin to Sourav Ganguly; from MS Dhoni to Virat Kohli - becoming the captain of Indian Test team is a matter of prestige because of the names that have been attached to the position. For Ajinkya Rahane, the opportunity to do so for the first time came in the fourth Test against Australia in 2017 in Dharamsala.
It was a crucial encounter. Australia had won the first Test, and India had won the 2nd Test. The third Test had ended in a draw which meant both the teams had all to play for in the final encounter. Unfortunately for India, skipper Virat Kohli suffered a should niggle while fielding in the 3rd Test and he was ruled out from the Dharamsala Test.
Rahane, who is Kohli’s deputy in the longest format, was named the captain of the team in the important match. Recalling the moment, Ajinkya Rahane says that it was a special occasion for him to lead the Indian troops in the longest format.
“Leading India was pretty special for me, particularly in that Test match, which was a crucial one (against Australia in 2017). I had never thought that I would be captaining the team. I was told that I’ll be informed on the eve of the match, maybe because of Virat’s fitness tests, if I’ll be leading the team in the next match,” Rahane said in the latest episode of former India cricketer Deep Dasgupta’s chat show Cricketbaazi on ESPNCricinfo.
“So I had no idea if I’ll be the captain in the next match. But then Virat informed that you’ll be leading because I’m not fit enough. Anil bhai [Kumble] was the coach then and he also told me that Virat can’t play so you’ll lead,” Rahane added.
Despite being under pressure, Rahane led the team brilliantly as India bundled out Australia for 300 in the first innings. With Rahane getting 46 runs on the board, India posted 332 run in the first innings, taking a small lead. In the 2nd innings, India bowlers went on a rampage as Australia were bundled out for 137, leaving an easy target of 106 for the hosts to chase. India went on to win comfortably and won the Test series 2-1.
“That moment was very special for me and I couldn’t believe that I would be leading the side. And the series was 1-1 then and to go and win it 2-1, in your first match as a captain was really special for me,” Rahane said.