Former India cricketer Maninder Singh urges India coach Ravi Shastri to sit down and have a chat with Ajinkya Rahane, who is going through a lean patch. Rahane scored just 18 and 10 in the two innings in the Headingley Test and in the entire series, he has managed just 95 runs from five innings. The former India spinner reckons Shastri is an excellent motivator and could help Rahane turn things around.
"I think there is going to be a lot of talk. Ravi Shastri is a good motivator and he has motivated this Indian team really well. That is why, probably, if you see their record since he has become coach, it has been pretty good," Maninder told ESPNCricinfo.
"I would be expecting Ravi Shastri to be a little over-active. Ajinkya Rahane has played 80-odd Test matches. But Shastri can’t think that he has played 80 Tests so he knows his job."
"Sometimes even great players need to be motivated. You need to sit with them, maybe take him out for dinner or something. You need to keep telling Rahane that he has done it before, he can do it again, and that he has got to be in a positive frame of mind. That is one department where all coaches need to be proactive," explained Maninder.
Despite Rahane's poor form, Maninder does not see India making any changes in the batting line-up. "Ajinkya Rahane has been very tentative and I really don’t know why. His average abroad is much higher than his average on Indian pitches. He has always scored runs. I don't know what's gone wrong where. But I don’t see him getting dropped or anything. Can’t see any change as far as the batting line-up is concerned," Maninder, who has picked up 88 wickets in 35 Tests said.
"The only place that I can see a change in the Indian side is, probably, Ishant Sharma might go out and they might get a spinner in or, maybe, Shardul Thakur. That’s the only change I can see going into the next Test match. Rahane is going to stay."
After an impressive victory in the second Test at Lord's, India succumbed to a massive loss in Leeds. With the series level at 1-1, the next Test at The Oval, starting September 2, becomes crucial.