Virat Kohli is the unanimous top dog of Indian cricket. His intensity and infectious energy is what drives the Indian team. This is why when it was announced that Kohli would be missing three of India’s four tests against Australia on account of paternity leave, one wondered how the team would thrive without its captain and best batsman at such an important tour. These doubts were dispelled by Kohli’s deputy Ajinkya Rahane, who ably stepped into his shoes on both fronts in the second test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The quiet, unassuming Rahane doesn’t paint as impressive a figure as Kohli, nor does he enjoy the same kind of adulation from fans. But he is an astute workman who goes about his job quietly. He had led India in a couple of games in the past, but never on an overseas tour where the team was 1-0 down following a humiliating defeat. If there was ever a test of captaincy for Rahane this was it, and he has so far delivered in spades. After Australia elected to bat first on day one, he was spot on with his field placements and bowling changes as India bundled the Aussies out for 195. He then showed his class with the bat, as he took India from 64/3 to 326 with a fighting century. India is in a potentially victorious position at the end of day three, and the captain made a huge contribution.
Kohli will assume India’s captaincy again upon his return to the side, and rightly so. But it is comforting to know that he has the assured and astute presence of Ajinkya Rahane by his side.
Rahane’s terrific showing won him praise from all quarters…
Great Captaincy by Rahane so far in this match…
All the decisions he made proved to be impactful….👏👏#AUSvsIND
— Él niño🇮🇳 (@suppandiiii) December 28, 2020
— Vinesh Prabhu (@vlp1994) December 28, 2020
Rahane’s hundred is a an unYouTubeable innings. The last minute softening of the grip, the glides past gully, the quick running, the cat-and-mouse v Lyon, the unflappability, refocusing after the breaks… these are beyond highlights. We are privileged to have watched this gem
— Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee) December 27, 2020
— Sumedh Vichare (@sumedhvichare1) December 27, 2020
— Harsh Rana (@HarshRa76250842) December 27, 2020
— Malay Chasta (@MalayChasta1) December 27, 2020
Shitted on for playing slow. Has 2 IPL centuries.
Shitted on, called overrated in Tests. Has one of the best overseas records for any Asian batsman.
Ajinkya Rahane always keeps quiet and does his thing.
Hope to see him do his thing for many more years.#AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/LosYw3qfQ1
— Not Daniel Alexander (@RealDanielAlex1) December 27, 2020
Another great day for us. Proper test cricket at its best. Absolutely top knock from Jinks👌@ajinkyarahane88
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 27, 2020
Another incident involving Rahane earlier this morning won him more admirers. He was batting on 112 when a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja saw him get run out. Instead of expressing his disappointment, Rahane departed after giving Jadeja a fist bump. The sporting gesture left many impressed.
Ajinkya Rahane‘s response towards teammate Ravendra Jadeja after being run out speaks volumes for his leadership … given the circumstances he played one of the finest innings by a visiting captain to AUS … outstanding knock 👏🏏 #AUSvIND
— Glenn Mitchell (@MitchellGlenn) December 28, 2020
That pat on the back to Jadeja by Rahane after the run-out shows the leadership qualities of Rahane, that small gesture could have relived Jadeja of any guilt of getting his captain run-out!#AUSvsIND
— Cricket Buffs (@RMokshJain) December 28, 2020
Must admit it was a really good gesture by Rahane to fist bump & calm Jadeja and asking him to go on and make it big. https://t.co/u7WA2EgOhi
— Gurkirat Singh Gill (@gurkiratsgill) December 28, 2020
Rahane – I told not to think and worry about the runout to Jadeja.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 28, 2020
“I told Jadeja not to worry about my run out and to do keep doing well” — Rahane.
Little things that tell you a lot about the person…no wonder Rahane is one of the most likeable players. Good things do happen to good people 😇☺️ #AusvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 28, 2020