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Ajinkya Rahane’s name comes high among the batsmen who expect Team India to perform well under the difficult conditions of Australia, England and New Zealand. They have also lived up to this belief many times. In addition to two centuries in Melbourne, the century innings played at Lord’s, Wellington and Kingston confirm that Rahane’s technique for fast, swing and bounce conditions is excellent, but there is another side to it.
Rahane has been struggling on Indian pitches. He has been able to score just 1494 runs by playing 28 Test matches in India. The average is just 37.35, which is even weaker than all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s batting average (38.90).
Virat, Pujara and Rohit averaged 50 in the house
The average above 37 in Test cricket cannot be called bad, but when compared to contemporary Indian batsmen, Rahane’s batting on Indian pitches looks quite weak. In Test cricket, Team India captain Virat Kohli has scored an average of 67.42 at home ground, Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 59.31 and Rohit Sharma has an average of 79. The averages of Lokesh Rahul (44.25), Rishabh Pant (71.50), Ravindra Jadeja (38.90) are also better than Rahane. Ravichandran Ashwin is also seen challenging Rahane with a batting average of 28.60.
Team India’s current stars perform at home
40 times out in the country, on 70% of the occasions, he became the victim of spinner.
Rahane’s poor performance on home pitches has proved to be a big reason for spin bowlers not playing properly. Rahane has played 44 innings in 28 Test matches in India. In this he has been out 40 times. Spinners have taken his wicket 28 times. At the same time, he became the victim of fast bowlers 12 times. In India, Rahane has been dismissed by right-arm spinners 16 times and left-arm spinners 12 times. That is, on domestic pitches, Rahane has been the victim of spinners on 70% of the occasions. In contrast, Virat Kohli 51% and Cheteshwar Pujara on domestic pitches have been the victim of spinners on 50% occasions.
Pujara plays faster than Rahane on Indian pitches
Cheteshwar Pujara is called the wall of Team India. The reason is that they play ticking and do not care much about strike rate. Despite this, Cheteshwar Pujara’s strike rate on Indian pitches is better than Rahane. Pujara has scored at a strike rate of 50.56 in India. Rahane’s strike rate is just 49. Virat has scored 60.76 and Rohit with a strike rate of 69.19.
Captaincy claims may be weak
Rahane has led Team India to victory in Australia in the absence of Virat Kohli. Overall he has captained five matches and won four. In such a situation, it is hoped that if ever Virat Kohli needs to be replaced, Rahane can be tried, but such a poor performance with the bat on home pitches weakens Rahane’s claim. The Indian team plays 40% of its Test matches at home. Therefore, the performance of a captain should be such that he can consistently make a place in the playing-11.
Need to improve game against spin: Ratra
Bhaskar spoke to Team India’s former cricketer and currently Assam Ranji coach Ajay Ratra about Rahane’s poor performance on home pitches. Ratra said Rahane is an excellent batsman and he also has the technology needed to succeed on home pitches. He needs to improve his game against spin on India’s slow and turning pitches. If they do, the numbers will automatically improve.