Back with a bang, India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane dedicated his game-changing performance in the first Test against the West Indies to all those who have stood by him during the past two years when he went through a rough patch.
Rahane scored 81 and 102 -- his first Test hundred in two years during India’s 318-run victory, which also earned him the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
“This hundred was special. My time with Hampshire really helped me. I dedicate this hundred to the people who backed me, supported me when I was going through a rough patch,” Rahane said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Rahane, who had gone 17 Tests without a century in more than two years, hit his 10th Test hundred --- 102 off 242 balls -- in the second innings of India’s World Test Championship campaign opener.
“It feels special. Getting this hundred after 29 or 30 innings. I’ve been getting 70s, but getting a 100 means a lot to me,” Rahane said after India dismissed the hosts for 100 in 26.5 overs in the second innings.
He also termed his 81 in the first innings as crucial considering the situation of the match when he went out to bat.
“The first innings was crucial after 20 for 3 (25 for 3). We needed a partnership, and the partnership between Rahul and me was crucial. I think first day the wicket was damp. West Indies bowled really well in that session. But it was important to play as many balls as possible without thinking about runs,” said the 31-year-old vice-captain.
“We wanted to bat 90-100 overs in the first innings knowing runs would come. In the 2nd innings, me and Virat wanted to get a good partnership. We wanted to just bat, bat and bat.”
India will take on the West Indies in the second Test on August 30.
Amre happy for Rahane
Pravin Amre feels sorry for Rohit Sharma but at the same time, he is happy that his protege Ajinkya Rahane managed to live up to the faith of the team management.
“I felt sorry for Rohit. I personally feel Rohit should have been given opportunity also after scoring those five hundreds. We know that he is a player capable of doing great things. But overall the team management backed Ajinkya and he returned that faith, which is important from Ajinkya’s prospective,” Amre told PTI.
And according to Amre, Rahane’s personal coach, hard work and patience finally paid off for the right-hander.
“God is kind. It was really his hard work because the past two years hasn’t been easy for him (Rahane). I will give him the credit for the way he handled himself. He was never frustrated and worked hard,” he said.
“Even if you see the last six months, how he handled himself. He went to England, played with the Duke ball (in county cricket). One week he was in Bengaluru (at the National Cricket Academy). So he has done what was in his hands. That was very important,” added Amre, best remembered for his debut hundred at Durban against South Africa.
Amre felt the 81-run knock in the first innings gave Rahane the much needed confidence.
“The 81 he hit in the first innings was so crucial from the team’s perspective. That innings was motivating for him. Even though he did not get a hundred, still he played crucial innings in England and South Africa. Apart from Sri Lanka, he has done very well. I was sure the hundred was around the corner,” he said.
“The Indian team is now No.1 in Tests and his contribution has always been always there. The was he handled the situation in the first innings after India were reduced to 25 for 3 was commendable),” added Amre, a former Mumbai coach.
Virat Kohli before leaving for the Caribbean tour too had backed Rahane to come good.
Asked Amre whether Rahane reposed his captain’s faith, he said, “The pressure is different when Virat (Kohli) and (Cheteshwar) Pujara get out (early). Ajinkya is the player who handles pressure well because he has got the temperament, technique and the tactics..”
Amre gave all the credit to Rahane for his resurgence.
“My contribution is not that much because ultimately a player’s hard work is important. We are there to give them moral support and keep motivating. One innings can give you back that confidence and exactly that happened,” Amre signed off.