Ajinkya Rahane: A national treasure that needs to be protected

Ajinkya Rahane has quickly metamorphosed himself to be a man for all seasons. Adored and respected by all and sundry, Rahane has learnt it the hard, gruelling way. On the sidelines for a real long time with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid holding fort for the country, Rahane endured protracted period of frustration waiting in the sidelines on the 2011-12 tour of Australia. He had lingered for a couple of months without a single outing. He also had to do the hard part, waiting for 16 months — from the time he was roped in the Test scheme of things in November 2011 to the time he finally got capped in March 2013. [Also Read: Ridiculous to make Ajinkya Rahane sacrificial lamb to protect holy cow Rohit Sharma]

Unsuccessful in his first Test at Feroz Shah Kotla on a tricky, wicked track did not help his cause. Rohit Sharma was backed instead and he capitalised with consecutive tons against the West Indies in the winters of 2013. That temporarily fizzled out Rahane’s chances.  At such a juncture anyone’s patience could have snapped. But Rahane had immense self-belief. He slogged it out in the nets, worked doubly hard and reaped dividends. With Tendulkar’s calling it a day, Rahane got another look-in which he cashed. [Also Read: Ajinkya Rahane should be groomed to be Virat Kohli’s deputy]

He scored 96 against the South African pace battery. He accentuated it with a few away hundred against the Kiwis in February 2014 and finally transformed into being a mainstay in Australia 2013-14. He and Kohli teamed up to play some breathtaking knocks; he also saved a Test at Sydney. Rahane is also a very safe catcher at slip, much like his mentor Rahul Dravid, and his world record catches recently is a possibly pointer of things to come.

For all his prove worth to the team, Rahane is the go-to man for anything others in the team won’t do or would prefer not to do —  much like Dravid was asked to. To protect the holy cows in the team, Rahane has been moved up and down the Indian batting order. But, like a true champion, he has delivered.

Rahane hit a purple patch both against South Africa and the Kiwis, slamming a hundred and a fifty in Wellington and Durban, respectively. Rahane was one of the few Indian batsmen to score quality runs on the tour of England in 2014. He tackled James Anderson & Co. very wisely and also scored a match-winning ton on a green top at Lord’s. Rahane had an impressive 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, during which he registered a gem of a hundred at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He scored 399 runs in the four-match Test series. [Also Read: Ajinkya Rahane’s world record: How He Achieved It]

 

It’s time for the Team India management to treat Rahane like a treasure that he is and not destroy his career with callous treatment. Rahane is indeed a national treasure that we need to protect.

(A cricket geek to the tee, Ankit Banerjee smokes and snorts it all day long. The romance with the sport incepted since the 1996 World Cup semi-final. He is a winner of the 2011 edition of the All-India college cricket quiz.)