Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane plays an upper cut Getty Images

He remains calm throughout the uproar. He weathers the storm with poise. He is the silent warrior of Indian cricket. Ajinkya Rahane has been a treat to watch ever since he graced the cricketing world. Mentored by the legendary batsman Rahul Dravid, he is armed with proper cricketing shots. If need be, he can even go on a rampage. For a batsman who is technically immaculate, it wasn’t a walk in the park for Rahane to get accustomed to T20 cricket. Like he has been prolific in the shortest format, he has been swashbuckling in the shortest as well. But, has the class-apart Rahane been sidelined by Team India in T20Is? Let’s bifurcate his journey in Test as well as T20 cricket to answer this question. Read – Ajinkya Rahane: I love facing challenges and responsibilities

Rahane’s grit in IPL: In 90 matches, Rahane has churned out 2,675 runs at 43.63, with a strike-rate of 126.64. Let’s disregard the number of runs he has scored for a while (someone of his class and pedigree will always plunder runs , no matter how tough the conditions are). The strike-rate is what worth taking notice. First, to amass runs at a brisk rate against top international bowlers is indeed commendable. Second, a batsman who plays textbook cricketing shots using the long handle when the teams need him is even more applaudable.

He did not change his approach. Instead, he perfected his strength and became one of the most watchable T20 batsman.

Rahane graces Test cricket: He has his name written on Lord’s honours board; a feat that even the great Sachin Tendulkar could not achieve; a feat that took 16 years for his mentor to attain. In 22 matches, he has smashed 1,619 runs at 44.97. He has six centuries to his name. As a matter of fact, four of these tons were scored in New Zealand, England, Australia, Sri Lanka and two, in the same match, against South Africa on home soil. He’s the only current Indian player to accomplish this exploit of scoring hundreds on top Test-playing nations’ soil. Read – Ajinkya Rahane: Feel good about the way I have batted in IPL 2016

Team India will tour West Indies in July to play four Tests. Unquestionably, Rahane will try to reach the three-figure mark on the Caribbean turf as well.

Rahane’s show of character in T20Is: Ever since Yuvraj Singh made it into the playing XI, Rahane has been benched. With the opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma already cementing the spot, this stylish batsman has been reduced to playing a role of a backup batsman.

However, he replaced Dhawan in the semi-final of ICC World T20 2016. He proved his mettle and was involved in two vital partnerships: 62 with Rohit and 66 with Kohli.

If not sixes, he deals in boundaries. If not boundaries, he keeps the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos. Truth be told, he is a complete package.

Is Rahane equally effective in all the formats? MS Dhoni earlier admitted that Rahane isn’t lethal on slow pitches. He likes the ball to come onto the bat well. If there isn’t enough pace in the pitch, Rahane struggles to find boundaries. And, this weakness of his surfaces in T20s, in which there is no margin for error.

However, his numbers in T20 cricket speaks volumes of his abilities. One can’t simple question his skill and temperament. He fought his demons and became one of the finest batsmen of this generation. His unconquerable will to improve has impressed the entire cricketing fraternity over the years. Read: Ajinkya Rahane s ascension as India vice-captain for West Indies tour signals shift in leadership prerequisites

He has immensely contributed to the Indian team. He, for obvious reasons, needs to be shown more trust. Dropping him often from the playing XI only adds to team’s misery. He needs to be stopped treating as a second fiddle. He is far more superior than that.

Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane, like his mentor, is a true gentleman, who prefers team’s success over his personal records.

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)