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Sit back and enjoy the '23 version of Jinx, the ultimate immersive experience

Last updated on 09 Jun 2023 | 08:21 PM
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Sit back and enjoy the '23 version of Jinx, the ultimate immersive experience

Is there currently any better sight in sport than watching *this* version of Rahane with the bat?

Between January 1, 2021, and January 14, 2022, Ajinkya Rahane made 547 runs in 15 Tests at an average of 20.26.  In the entire world, among players who played 12+ Tests in the aforementioned period, only one cricketer fared worse with the bat than Rahane: James Anderson. 

In case you forgot how bad things got for Rahane before he got axed, this statistic above should do well to remind you.

The good thing is that none of that matters now. The past is the past. Rahane himself holds this exact same viewpoint.

“Coming back after 18-19 months, whatever has happened, good or bad, I don’t want to think about my past. I just want to start afresh and keep doing whatever I have been doing,” he told ahead of the WTC final.

As far as the present is concerned, oooof. Is there currently any better sight in sport than watching *this* version of Rahane smoothly and confidently going about his business? 

After being endlessly memed ahead of the IPL, for being picked by CSK despite his ordinary T20 record, Rahane unlocked the God mode within him to produce the most WTF season of all time.

Statistically alone it was an outrageous season, but the — insane — numbers weren’t even the highlight. 

The most prominent element of Rahane’s IPL 2023 was the absurdly crisp strokemaking. It was so clean that, at one point, it left you wondering if Rahane IPL 2023 was the cleanest and sweetest any batter had timed and struck the ball in T20 history. 

Rahane’s stroke-making in the IPL was so flawless that it felt too good to be true. It made you question how long he’ll be able to sustain the form. 

Long enough, it turns out. 

Different country, different format, different conditions, different stakes, but at The Oval, Rahane’s astonishing stroke-making that took the IPL by storm, made its presence known. And it was glorious. 

Once again, as was the case in the IPL, if you’re out there trying to dissect Rahane’s knock, trying to figure out what him getting runs means for the future (his and the team’s), you’re doing life totally wrong. 

Right now, there is only one correct way to go about watching Rahane in 2023 — treating his batting as an entertaining, immersive experience, and basking in its glory and uncertainty. Viewing the current version of Rahane through this particular prism is a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Has his 89 given India a fighting chance in this World Test Championship (WTC) final? Yes, absolutely. But will you remember this Rahane knock for the 89 runs he scored? Or the fact that he helped India avoid the follow-on? No, absolutely not.

You will remember it for that authoritative, dismissive six off Cummins to bring up fifty, a six that rekindled memories of his cameo in Dharamshala in 2017.

You will remember it for the cover drive he hit off Boland late on Day 2, where he absolutely leant into the drive. 

You will remember it for another cover drive he creamed off the bowling of Green on Day 3, a stroke so good that it was responsible for triggering eyegasms all over the country. 

Rahane, in this knock, had his fair share of luck — dismissed off a no-ball, dropped on two separate occasions — but outside that, his 129-ball stay in the middle was poetry in motion. Batting at its purest, finest form; a sight for sore eyes.

And ultimately, that is precisely what this version of Rahane is all about. He wants to enjoy himself, and in turn entertain the audience. He is as much a performer as he is a batter. 

“I want to bat with the same mindset and show the same intent that I showed before coming here in IPL and Ranji Trophy. I would not like to think about the format whether it is T20 or Tests. The way I am batting now, I don’t want to complicate things and the more I keep it simple, better it is for me,” he said ahead of the final. 

Sure enough, he kept his promise.

Audiences judge life performers (and performances) by one metric, and one metric alone — whether the artist has provided them with long-lasting memories. 

Fair to say, those who’ve watched Rahane in action in these past couple of months (today included) will admit unabashedly and unequivocally that he’s indeed provided them with a high they’ll long for in the future; memories (even if small) that will stay etched in the mind for a significant period of time.

Nobody, including Rahane himself, knows how long this version of Jinx — which feels like stroke-making perfection — will last. So do yourself a favor, quit worrying about the implications his knock could have for the future, and immerse yourself in the glory of the present.

We just might never witness something like this ever again. 

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