India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi March 21, 2013

Is the wait finally over for Rahane?

A debut has eluded the Mumbai batsman despite a prolonged stint in the Test squad, but that could change in the Delhi Test
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Ajinkya Rahane has been a part of India's Test squads for about 16 months. In the 16 Tests India have played since Rahane was named in India's squad for the home Test series against the West Indies, seven players (R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, R Vinay Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan), including a specialist batsman and a spin-bowling allrounder, have made their debut. Two prolific batsmen (Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman) have retired, two established openers (Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir) have been axed, and two more batsmen (Cheteshwar Pujara and M Vijay) who returned to the team seem to have made most of their opportunities. Virat Kohli has gone from being a fringe member to being the next in line for the Test captaincy.

Amid all this chopping and changing in the XI, there has been one constant: no matter who the openers are and who bats at No. 6, Rahane has been a permanent drinks-fetcher and substitute fielder.

Three times during his prolonged period as a Test squad member, Rahane's debut was expected by most of the Indian cricket fraternity. Still, while the Jadejas and Dhawans have been rewarded with a Test cap within a week after being called up, Rahane is still waiting for his chance.

With Shikhar Dhawan injuring his fingers on debut last week, Rahane stakes the first claim on the spot vacated, and could also end Mumbai's wait for a Test debutant since Ramesh Powar back in 2007. "I just hope he gets his chance this time around at the Kotla," Ajit Agarkar, Mumbai's Ranji captain, said. "Nobody will doubt the fact that he thoroughly deserves it."

For most of these 16 months, Rahane has been shuttling between domestic and international arena as frequently as he used to change local trains during his growing-up years in Mumbai. Yet, he has averaged 48.72 this domestic season. The fact that it's Rahane's lowest average for a season since making his first-class debut in 2007-08 shows his terrific record.

Still, that's not been enough for him to break into the eleven. For the first four years, the national selectors ignored him since they were never sure "whether he is a middle-order batsman or opener". Then, after he showed promise during his limited opportunities in the limited-overs leg of the England tour in 2011, the selection panel chaired by K Srikkanth told him to be prepared to bat "anywhere between No. 1 and 6".

And then, once Srikkanth passed on the baton to Sandeep Patil, the selectors decided - in consultation with Rahane, hopefully - that Rahane was best suited to bat in the middle order. As a result, though he opened Mumbai's innings in the 2011-12, the Mumbai team management was asked to utilise him at No. 3 this season.

Former India batsman Praveen Amre, during whose five-year association with the Mumbai Ranji team Rahane burst on to the first-class scene, feels Rahane is unnecessarily criticised for shuffling his batting position. "During my stint [as the Mumbai coach], we used him as an opener as well as at No. 3," Amre said. "And he proved us right all the time. He is one of the few batsmen who can adapt to batting at the top of the order and in the middle order."

Agarkar also feels that Rahane's strength of being flexible about his batting position doesn't get due credit. "To be honest, it doesn't matter whether he opens the innings or bats in the middle order," Agarkar said. "Wherever he bats, he always scores runs, which seals the deal for him."

Despite waiting in the wings for well over a year, none of the Mumbai team members have seen him flustered during this period. The reason, according to Dhawal Kulkarni, his usual room-mate while playing for Mumbai, is "his focus". "He keeps things really simple," Kulkarni said. "He knows very well that he has to be patient till his chance comes and make sure he keeps on doing what he does the best and loves the most - to keep on scoring consistently. And it works for him."

Rahane averages an astonishing 62.04 after 100 first-class innings. So what sets him apart from the rest? "Not too many youngsters around are as hardworking as him. It reflects in everything he does on the field," Agarkar said.

While his approach has helped him through the wait for the Test cap, his perseverance hasn't paid off with everything that he has done. "During the Emerging Players tournament in Australia [in 2009], we used to cook for each other. And invariably every time he used to goof it up," Kulkarni recalled.

No doubt Kulkarni will be the first one to be ready to cook a dinner for his friend if he finally gets the Test cap at the Kotla on Friday.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • realfan on March 22, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    @maddy20 i am not against tiwary, in fact i want him also to be in the test team... infact i can see Rahane, pujara, kohli, tiwary , dhawan should be commendable batting line up for the years to come..... if you see rahanes's record in the chances he got against england in england he did quite wellll...... its just the odd games he failed where he got oppurtunities after a nearly year gap..... and please dont expect a guy to score century every time he was given a chance in odd game..... my point is only with ROHIT SHARMA( he got way too many oppurtunities in ODI) and RAINA( he got n nuber of oppurtunities in tests) if those number of chances were given to either of RAHANE or TIWARY they could have been permanent slot in middle order now.....

  • on March 22, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    I would like Rahane to open tomorrow and play Raina at No.05.If Sachin decides to quit, then he can play tomorrow. But we need him for SA tour, so, Sachin shud rest for this match. With SA tour in mind, we have not tried our third opener yet, yes by indications i feel selectors will go with Gambhir for that spot. So, Rahane has to make up his mind about opening. If Rahane is confident abt opening then i would try him out before SA tour. Also, i think Raina is very lucky to this opportunity, with Dhawan, Gauti & Manoj all being not fit..i think this should be final chance for next 1 yr in test matches. My team for tomorrow - Vijay, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant & Ohja. My XI for SA tour first two matches - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant & Umesh. Rahane (3rd opener), Tiwary (middle order), Ohja (2nd specialist spinner), Praveen/Irfan/Zaheer, Shami, Ishwar/Awan

  • CricketFollowerSince1984 on March 22, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Rahane was India's top scorer in Emerging Players' tournament 2 years back. I think this was played in Australia. He also played well in England during India A series, if I am right, so I don't think we can categorize him as not a good player outside India. In fact, he played well in onedayers in England. I know he failed in 1days in England series in India but I won't judge him based on those few matches. The only place, he failed (amid high expectations) was in West Indies series of India A, where he scored just one 50, whereas Pujara was top scorer. In fact, that series turned out to be much closer than expected, where India scrapped thru for 2-1 victory. Anyway, whether you consider quality of bowling or pitches, I rate performance in Australia and England higher over that in West Indies. All in all, I think he is a test match player than a one-dayers but you know our selectors, right? They are not good at choosing the right platform for the entry of these players.

  • on March 22, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    I don't know a lot about this guy other than looking at his stats, but as an Australian looking in, how does a guy with a FC average over 62 after such a long time not get a look in? It's not like he had one good FC season, he's been piling on runs every yea, why haven't the Indian selectors picked him already???

  • wolf777 on March 22, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    Don't get poor guy's hopes too high...Why do you think Suresh 'Big Hug' Raina has been picked? Dhoni will make Pujara open and Raina will be the No. 5 batsman...

  • on March 22, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Rahane should had been picked in 11 before Murli or Dhavan, this is dirty politics of Indian cricket, they ensured that he doesn't play the domestic cricket by keeping him in team and forced the Mumbai team management to make him play in middle order so he doesn't get a chance as opener. Indian team management is trying to create pressure on Sachin to retire by keeping Rahane in standby. this team is only of Dhoni and Srinivasan. I am still surprise that Dhoni is caption even after loosing 8 test matches and now people are calling him great caption because he beat inexperienced Aus in India ...what a joke.

  • 777aditya on March 22, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    Rahane definitely deserves a look in, better late than never. He is a good batsman with a good technique. He is also a handy fielder. But Raina's (Dhoni's apple of the eye) inclusion in the squad is worrying. Knowing Dhoni, he might well select Raina and ask him to open (remember, Raina had said not so long ago that he could like to open in tests). Dhoni's explanation could be simple, if one Jadeja is good, two is even better! Raina can bat, bowl, and even field better than Jadeja - so good luck Rahane, you can continue to serve drinks and display your fielding prowess when some VIP decides to not take the field after being in the sun for more than an hour!

  • on March 22, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    rahana is not gonna get a chance in the playing XI. raina will play as no 6 and pujara will open the innings. Rahana is more of a T20?ODI player. i dont think he has the temperament to play test innings. i have seen him flashing at wide deliveries. all his ODI innings were short.let him play more ODIs and prove that he can play long innings.

  • the_blue_android on March 21, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    Rahane is the next Badri. He will get 1 or 2 chances after SRT retires in 2015 and then he will be immediately dropped at the tender young age of 31.

  • Nampally on March 21, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    @Maddy: You are absolutely correct about Tiwary being the technically sound batsman. I always tipped Pujara, Kohli & Tiwary as the replacements for Dravid, SRT & VVS. Tiwary would grossly improve his chances if he works hard on his leg spinners & develops them to Test standard. So many middle order batsmen now available are also good bowlers- although it is "fashionable" to call them part time bowlers. Guys like Raina, Jadeja, Rohit Sharma are all in this category. Even Kohli was attempted to be converted into a part time bowler by Dhoni!. Jadeja has now advanced from part time bowler into a regular bowler in Tests. This has put Ojha's spot in jeopardy, unless he learns to become a great batsman! That is the modern trend in India. At one time India had 4 specialist bowlers +6 batsmen + an All roumder. Specialist bowlers & batsmen are getting rare now. Current Trend: Top 4 may be specialist Batsmen & bottom 2 specialist bowlers- rest pseudo all rounders. I don't know where Rahane Fits!

  • realfan on March 22, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    @maddy20 i am not against tiwary, in fact i want him also to be in the test team... infact i can see Rahane, pujara, kohli, tiwary , dhawan should be commendable batting line up for the years to come..... if you see rahanes's record in the chances he got against england in england he did quite wellll...... its just the odd games he failed where he got oppurtunities after a nearly year gap..... and please dont expect a guy to score century every time he was given a chance in odd game..... my point is only with ROHIT SHARMA( he got way too many oppurtunities in ODI) and RAINA( he got n nuber of oppurtunities in tests) if those number of chances were given to either of RAHANE or TIWARY they could have been permanent slot in middle order now.....

  • on March 22, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    I would like Rahane to open tomorrow and play Raina at No.05.If Sachin decides to quit, then he can play tomorrow. But we need him for SA tour, so, Sachin shud rest for this match. With SA tour in mind, we have not tried our third opener yet, yes by indications i feel selectors will go with Gambhir for that spot. So, Rahane has to make up his mind about opening. If Rahane is confident abt opening then i would try him out before SA tour. Also, i think Raina is very lucky to this opportunity, with Dhawan, Gauti & Manoj all being not fit..i think this should be final chance for next 1 yr in test matches. My team for tomorrow - Vijay, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant & Ohja. My XI for SA tour first two matches - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant & Umesh. Rahane (3rd opener), Tiwary (middle order), Ohja (2nd specialist spinner), Praveen/Irfan/Zaheer, Shami, Ishwar/Awan

  • CricketFollowerSince1984 on March 22, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Rahane was India's top scorer in Emerging Players' tournament 2 years back. I think this was played in Australia. He also played well in England during India A series, if I am right, so I don't think we can categorize him as not a good player outside India. In fact, he played well in onedayers in England. I know he failed in 1days in England series in India but I won't judge him based on those few matches. The only place, he failed (amid high expectations) was in West Indies series of India A, where he scored just one 50, whereas Pujara was top scorer. In fact, that series turned out to be much closer than expected, where India scrapped thru for 2-1 victory. Anyway, whether you consider quality of bowling or pitches, I rate performance in Australia and England higher over that in West Indies. All in all, I think he is a test match player than a one-dayers but you know our selectors, right? They are not good at choosing the right platform for the entry of these players.

  • on March 22, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    I don't know a lot about this guy other than looking at his stats, but as an Australian looking in, how does a guy with a FC average over 62 after such a long time not get a look in? It's not like he had one good FC season, he's been piling on runs every yea, why haven't the Indian selectors picked him already???

  • wolf777 on March 22, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    Don't get poor guy's hopes too high...Why do you think Suresh 'Big Hug' Raina has been picked? Dhoni will make Pujara open and Raina will be the No. 5 batsman...

  • on March 22, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Rahane should had been picked in 11 before Murli or Dhavan, this is dirty politics of Indian cricket, they ensured that he doesn't play the domestic cricket by keeping him in team and forced the Mumbai team management to make him play in middle order so he doesn't get a chance as opener. Indian team management is trying to create pressure on Sachin to retire by keeping Rahane in standby. this team is only of Dhoni and Srinivasan. I am still surprise that Dhoni is caption even after loosing 8 test matches and now people are calling him great caption because he beat inexperienced Aus in India ...what a joke.

  • 777aditya on March 22, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    Rahane definitely deserves a look in, better late than never. He is a good batsman with a good technique. He is also a handy fielder. But Raina's (Dhoni's apple of the eye) inclusion in the squad is worrying. Knowing Dhoni, he might well select Raina and ask him to open (remember, Raina had said not so long ago that he could like to open in tests). Dhoni's explanation could be simple, if one Jadeja is good, two is even better! Raina can bat, bowl, and even field better than Jadeja - so good luck Rahane, you can continue to serve drinks and display your fielding prowess when some VIP decides to not take the field after being in the sun for more than an hour!

  • on March 22, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    rahana is not gonna get a chance in the playing XI. raina will play as no 6 and pujara will open the innings. Rahana is more of a T20?ODI player. i dont think he has the temperament to play test innings. i have seen him flashing at wide deliveries. all his ODI innings were short.let him play more ODIs and prove that he can play long innings.

  • the_blue_android on March 21, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    Rahane is the next Badri. He will get 1 or 2 chances after SRT retires in 2015 and then he will be immediately dropped at the tender young age of 31.

  • Nampally on March 21, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    @Maddy: You are absolutely correct about Tiwary being the technically sound batsman. I always tipped Pujara, Kohli & Tiwary as the replacements for Dravid, SRT & VVS. Tiwary would grossly improve his chances if he works hard on his leg spinners & develops them to Test standard. So many middle order batsmen now available are also good bowlers- although it is "fashionable" to call them part time bowlers. Guys like Raina, Jadeja, Rohit Sharma are all in this category. Even Kohli was attempted to be converted into a part time bowler by Dhoni!. Jadeja has now advanced from part time bowler into a regular bowler in Tests. This has put Ojha's spot in jeopardy, unless he learns to become a great batsman! That is the modern trend in India. At one time India had 4 specialist bowlers +6 batsmen + an All roumder. Specialist bowlers & batsmen are getting rare now. Current Trend: Top 4 may be specialist Batsmen & bottom 2 specialist bowlers- rest pseudo all rounders. I don't know where Rahane Fits!

  • on March 21, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    no injustice is done to rahane he should have played 12 tests by now but luckily he played odis and even t20 which does not suit his style so give hime a chance in tests only ,if he succeeds for an year or two in tests then he should be given a chance in odis because for the 2015 wc in aus we dont need all attacking players in the squad

  • Nampally on March 21, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Rahane may be a good batsman but the final XI is selected by Dhoni. It is almost impossible to predict what XI Dhoni selects. One thing is sure. Dhoni is very loyal to his favourites & will include them irrespective of what anyone thinks. One important thing must never be over looked. All young players have their confidence badly shattered when they are injustifiably benched. You need to be on the receiving end to understand their feeling. Fortunately, Dhoni was not benched much to understand this aspect. It would be good to see Rahane making his debut but I won't be surprised at all if Raina is brought in the middle order or even as an opener. Alternately, Pujara will be forced to open the innings with Vijay - followed by Kohli, SRT, Raina & Dhoni. India has so many youngster waiting to appear as openers.A logical repalacement for Dhawan's injury would have been another Leftie like Mukund. A LH & RH combo is always the best choice, if available.It would also have ensured a back up!

  • on March 21, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    I already feel sorry for Badri, Tiwary, and now if Rahane is not given a chance it will be not fair on young talents who perform so well in domestic cricket and are only used as field replacements.

  • Arrow011 on March 21, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Suresh Raina should play tomorrow & not the drinks carrier Rahane. This guy should be asked to build muscles like Mathew Hayden because whenever he hits his shots in ODIs or 20-20s it lands straight in a feilder's hands. He plays a lot of shots in the air without much strength.

  • sulav.dahal on March 21, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    Rahane, cash the opportunity! It won't come 2nd time!

  • Angry_Bowler on March 21, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Rahane in 16ODIs has ave of 25 while Raina has 38 in ODIs 28 in tests with a century not a big difference. If Rahane is in the team why not Raina, after all he has better avg than Rahane at least in ODI. Moreover he has scored centuries in all formats of the game.

  • maddy20 on March 21, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    @28041991 Rahane has been part of every series since the England tour(except CB series). He played against Pak, Sri Lanka Tour, against England at home etc., but has failed consistently. He flashes wildly at balls outside the off-stump and edges them to slips, so his technique itself is flawed. If you have seen Tiwary bat, you would have noticed that he got a rock solid technique and can accelerate rapidly if required. He is also a capable legbreak bowler if required. I would pick him ahead of Rahane any day. His consistent performances in the tour games is just another illustration of how good he is! If picked Rahane will be a walking wicket for Aus bolwers just like Sehwag was. True that Sachin has not scored a century till 72nd game, but he made a lot of 50's and averaged in the mid 30's.

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    @Anand Bharadwaj as said , dont look at his limited chances in odi performances....he has those records inspite of getting odd games to ply only when some others are unavailable......just hope he gets persisted chances as raina got.... he will embarrass many....

  • on March 21, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Though his domestic stats are impressive, he was embarrased quite comprehensively against Steven Finn in ODIs. I have my doubts how he will fare against genuine pace. If he opens, I guess we will find out.

  • Go_F.Alonso on March 21, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    @KartiG: Firstly, ODI performance is no indication of the quality of a Test player. VVS Laxman & Samaraweera turned out fine. You fellas will only understand when compared to Sachin, so here goes - Rahane has made 404 runs in 16 ODI innings with no Not-Outs while Sachin at the same stage made 377 runs with 2 Not-Outs and one DNB. Apart from this meaningless stat, Rahane has an excellent technique and great temperament besides being able to switch gears quite comfortably as we saw when he played for the Rajasthan Royals. Besides, Raina has got countless chances which he hasn't really utilised and is not of Test material when touring. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Raina but I'd like to see the best team represent India. In summary, Rahane not only deserves just a chance but needs to be persisted with - you don't just have a fantastic first-class record without any talent.

  • Dhanno on March 21, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    So many comments on this article are reproducing what is said BCCI/ selectors for last 10-12 months. Here are some of the facts : Rahane is an opener first. FC debut in Mohd. Nissar Trophy in Karachi (against Pak's Ranji equivalent champions) opened in innings and scored an 100. Mumbai has used Rahane/Jaffer interchangeably in top 3/4 spots because these are their best batsmen. He can play at number 3, but he always started as opener. He has been with this team for 16 months and played only 16 ODIs which is not even the preferred format for the guy. By keeping him with the side, selectors have made sure he cannot go back to FC cricket on consistent basis, score heavily and put pressure on them. Still with stop-gap FC season he avg 48 for Ranji Champions, now that is better than what Raina/ Vijay/ Yuvi achieved and they have been given chance ahead of him.

    If there was ever unfair treatment this was it.

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    @KartiG dude just to brush your memories.... sachin got his 1st ODI hundred after what 70+ innings.... and any one remember Marvan attapattu???? his first 6 innings score were 0,0,0,1,0,0 and guess what he went on and scored 6 double hundreds in his career.... just because some guys got centuries in early matches and some guys have not, that doesnt mean that they are not of quality.....

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    guys before commenting on rahane's failure in ODIs , please remember that these 16 odis chances were given to him when and only another player has been injured or been drooped.... that means he dint get enough long time run as ROHIT and RAINA got..... still dhoni will go with these two.... 16 matches in 2 years without any long run..... do anyone expect him to do much better than what he has done???? what has rohit done in the chances given to him???? what has raina done in those chances given to him in tests?????

  • vrkp on March 21, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    I think fans are slightly more harsh on SRT this time just because Rahane is in the squad for 16 months or so. Except in Eng 2011, Rahane hasn't done anything special in the interim. Even though SRT hasn't done anything extraordinary in this series, still he has done reasonably well. He is playing positively. So far in five inning his scores are 80+, 20*, 7, 37, 21(23 balls). He could have remained not out in the last inning but for our ultra defensive skipper who shut the shop, the moment Kohli was out. Dhoni's inning of 2 of 25 balls put unnecessary pressure on SRT and resulted in his run out.

    Regarding SRT in SA series, i think we should definitely take him there. Otherwise, the same fans will complain that selectors made mistake of dropping all experienced players just like Aussie fans complaining about missing Ponting and Hussey.

    My squad for SA will be: Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, SRT, Kohli, Rahane, Viru, Jadeja, MSD, D Karthik, Ashwin, Bhuv, Umesh, Irfan, Sreesanth

  • GRVJPR on March 21, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    @kartiG Don't worry about 16 ODI innings of Rahane, Sachin Tendulakr got his first ODI century in 76th ODI innings. If we can allow him that luxury, why not RAHANE?

  • pr3m on March 21, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    @Arjun Calidas, are you even serious? Do you listen to yourself? Throws his wicket after a hundred, so he should be dropped? We're shielding Kohli? Have you seen his stats this series? Drop him cos he throws it away after a hundred! I've seen a lot of unintelligent commentary in my life, but you take the cake buddy!

  • itsthewayuplay on March 21, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    The biggest concern is that Gambhir was recalled to squad after Dhawan's injury before withdrawing. I don't accept the argument that this Indian team needs a balance of experience and new players. Other than Dravid in England what did that experience achieve in England and Australia? Tendulkar should do what's best for the Indian team and allow another player the opportunity that he was given over 20 years ago and let them gain experience. Good luck Rahane. I'll be very disappoonted for you but not surprised if I don't see your name on the teamsheet tomorrow.

  • KartiG on March 21, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    After 16 innings in ODIs he is not able to prove his potential.. So how do you expect a captain to prefer him???????

  • on March 21, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    I think they are preserving him for tendulkar spot,he suits a lot better in middle order i think he is good at opining for ODIS compared to tests,lets hope he get a chance to play in playing 1X

  • vrkp on March 21, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    The last test is our best chance and only chance to try out few things before the SA series.

    Ishant should be replaced by a new bowler- Dinda or anyone else and SRT should be rested and replaced by Rahane.

    It will be a difficult and nervy when you debut in an away series against the best team in the world. Instead, the new players can play better without any pressure now that we have won the series and also the opposition is down at the moment.

  • on March 21, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    The problem is that he is a middle order batsman who cant bowl...... But surely he will get a run and selectors want him to be a middle order batsman .... Wen sachin leave kholi will move to 4 and rahane at 5 ... With either jaddu/tiwary at 6

  • kingcobra85 on March 21, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    I would get a left hander into the team.

  • on March 21, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    feels sorry for Rahane, a promising talent is being wasted,I hope atleast now he gets a chance to represent his nation

  • usernames on March 21, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Vijay, Rahane, Pujara, Tendulkar, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar, Jadeja, Ojha.

  • jimbond on March 21, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Rahane should get a chance. He has been the standout performer in Ranji(along with Pujara) in the past decade. Actually much worse is the case of Rohit Sharma - who not only has NOT been given a chance in tests, but also has been reviled in public forums. If we look objectively Rohit Sharma and Badrinath have similar averages in first class- of about 60- and both having played winning innings for their teams. Rahane infact averages even higher- about 62. These three players deserved a chance ahead of Dhoni/Srinivasan favourites like Vijay. Now that Vijay and Dhawan have played a couple of good innings, these three players can get their chances only through injuries to other players.

  • on March 21, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    sachin dont want to retire because he loves playing but what about rahane he also loves playing he is so focussed and disciplined....plz sachin step down just to accomodate a naturally gifted batman a deserving chance. u have made ur career but plz dont spoil career of rahane he has miles to go he is run machine like pujara. sachin u really seems to be selfish. thats not the way to go little man.

  • phunny_game on March 21, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Well, a debut surely has eluded... But even if he plays tomorrow, he would likely be played as an opener which is not his regular position. So facing pattinson first up with the new ball may not be the rosiest scenario he would dream of on a debut. So he should not be judged even if he fails... He is an exceptional player (his FC avg suggests so) and will likely be a part of the middle order soon. All the best to the lad... All this obviously, if he gets to play the match at all...

  • on March 21, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Good or bad this man deserves a chance.. Like Amol Muzumdar he has scored heavily in Ranji.. The Indian selectors made a meal out of Badrinath's career.. Hope this one gets his chances.. I think Kohli needs to sit a few matches out.. He has been shielded for way too long. He bats at 5 and not 3.. Throws his wicket away once he reaches a hundred.. The selectors should have selected Unmukt Chand or Baba Aparajith to sit as an understudy for Rahane instead of Raina which sends the wrong message..

  • Kart_in_Quartz on March 21, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    A decision to include all the 3 fringe players for the 3rd test - Rahane, Raina and Dinda into the squad would be the ideal case of merit and boldness in decision making. India has won the series. Period. They ve now got a scope to breed new talent and check the possibilities of a SA tour later this year. A Rahane walks in straight into Shikhar s place. Dinda replaces Ishant (agreed, its his home ground). Lastly dont see any reason why our little master can himself give way to Raina, having being taken. He s got nothing to lose, proven everything.

  • sasi_trueindian on March 21, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    I don't understand this moan about Dhoni and the csk link..ravindra jadeja had Dhoni's backing even before he was with CSK..and Rohit Sharma was never with CSK..and Badrinath is with CSK right from its inaugaral season but failed to make it to thw international side..so clearly CSK doesn't have a thing to do with selections.. Speaking of Rahane and his wasted chances in the so-called wrong format, rahane got out trying to defend..so it showed a basic lack of technique against pace and movement.. Speaking of favoritism..I guess a captain is well within his rights to have players of his liking in the team unless there are extraordinary reasons against it..Raina is gives his best in the whatever he does..so I have no objection with him being a captain's favored player.. Please guys..stop searching for reasons to complain..rahane is young..so he will get what he deserves to..sooner or later..

  • gsingh7 on March 21, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    another overrated batsman. he struggled big time in england tests against pie chuckers like broad and finn. he will not score 50 runs in both innings, combined. jiwenjot has been scoring at pujara pace in mohali , which was green in ranji matches where scoring is most difficult in india. although opposition bowlers were not faster than sAY AFRIDI. still he have 3 times more talent than rahane who is all hype little substance. he is overrated by mumbai people as since sachin no mumbai test player had any success in indian team. let punjab lad jiwen have his chance he deserves more than rahane.

  • GRVJPR on March 21, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    I am sick of people recommending badrinath. That man doesn;t even have a proper batting stance and was rushed by short pitch bowling even on flat T-20 matches. rahane should be goven a go

  • on March 21, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    I always looked at him as an opener and a quality batsman.but after watching him bat against the likes of Finn in the odi series against England,I have started doubting his credentials as an international batsman.does not have much of a footwork,can foresee him struggling against the extra pace of Pattinson

  • on March 21, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    sachin should sit out and rahane should play in middle order. as simple as that.

  • moBlue on March 21, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    what is wrong with dhoni?!? not giving a young player with an average of 62 a chance in test cricket is a travesty!!! ...especially when the dude is an opener, and when gambhir and sehwag flopped as openers for so long!

    it would be handy to try rahane out in IND and if he succeeds, take him to SA because i know - now that dravid and lax are gone - that the wheels are likely going to come off in SA when steyn, philander, morkel and kallis attack IND at home! if an opener (or two) flops in SA, they could give rahane a try... but not before they give him a chance to open in tests at home first!

  • on March 21, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Rahane has not exactly grabbed his chances with both his hands in the opportunities he has received in limited overs games and in matches preceding a test match, like in Australia. However, he still deserves a chance and will probably get one in Delhi to stake his claim for the next test series.

  • Rudy27 on March 21, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Dhoni will go with Raina because of favoritism. Ithink he will bring in Raina and open with pujara and murali. Obviously everybody are jealous of Mumbai boys.

  • CricketMaan on March 21, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    If first class cricket is what is the selection criteria, then BADRINATH was the most deserving even during the days of Famous 4 middle order, had he been persisted like Raina or even Gambhir, he too could have settled into this line up. Rahane was found out by Finn to the incoming delivery. Rahane's numbers in shorter format did not set the world on fire, here is hoping he corrects that in Test cricket.

  • A.Ak on March 21, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Only 16 months. He had played 16 ODIs. He is not even 25yrs yet. Why people are so concerned about one particular player?. Badrinath, with the team for over 4 years, from 27yrs to 31yrs. Then he was dropped citing his age!.

  • Raju_Iyer on March 21, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    What a ridiculous article! Basic truth is up until the last three matches, Sehwag and Gambhir one of the most successful opening pairs ensured Rahane was on stand-by. The first vacancy arose when Gambhir was dropped and logically it went to Murali who was ahead of Rahane in the first place. When Sehwag was dropped, in order to have a left-right combination Dhawan was preferred to Rahane; so it is a ridiculous line of argument to paint him as the perpetual drinks-fetcher. And why bring the "Mumbai" angle into it? This is team India and merit not regionality should be the selection criterion. And by the way, Rahane has been given games in other formats, so I don't see the big fuss...

  • murraliGMS on March 21, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    i think dhoni is showing partiality on rahane in playing xi.. rahane would have proved worthy if atleast 10 percent chance of what is given to rohit and raina is given to him...

  • pull_shot on March 21, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    i dont know how a player with 62 fc avg is benched for 16 test matches these things happen in india only.rahane should have selected csk instead of rr in ipl.

  • on March 21, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    i don't think he is going to get a chance to play for India as long as MSD is the captain of the Indian Cricket Team. I am happy that so many people are supporting him out here ...but i am disappointed when people call him an Great T 20 player. I guess he has been playing for Mumbai and is one of the Highest Run Scorer in Ranji Trophy ( we all know him because he played some beauty full IPL innings.). But his bluk scoring has come in the long game playing for Mumbai. In one day they say he could not play against England and Pakistan .......come on FOLKS look at our Playing XI and name a person who has been consistent. MSD at the worst time in test matches but still ... he is in the team ,forget MSD (He is a BIG SHOT). Look at the chances what was given to Suresh Raina ,Rohit Sharma ,Ravindra Jadeja,R Ashwin,Murli Vijay ,Shikhar Dhawan. I think Even if he gets a chance he wont be able to prove him self & if he does then i think India has found the next captain.

  • on March 21, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    If he is destined for great things, he ll get his chance some day. But if he is not, thats sad. Badrinath ? he got the toughest of debuts against SA and got dumped. Same thing might happen to Rahane also. Now that Dhoni's pet Raina is around, he would be ignored this time as well. Pujara might open and Raina will take the no 6 spot.

  • on March 21, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Feel pity when I remember likes of Badri, M Tiwary, Jaffer etc. who were denied chances for Raina, Sharma,Jadeja, Yuvi. Now its turn of Rahane and hope he gets justice. Badri and Jaffer are already out of Dhni's expected age bracket. Hope Tiwary as well fits in at one stage.

  • vijaykrish on March 21, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Sachin paaji, pls sit out of this game & give ur fellow mumbaikar a chance...

  • bipulkumar on March 21, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Indians have given too many chances to Murali Vijay to settle down. Rahane is the next big thing for Indian cricket. Selectors must give him a chance and persist with him even if he fails on few occasion. Hope good sense prevail on selectors and Dhoni.

  • on March 21, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    rehane has second highest first class average by an indian and he deserves chance more than dhawan,vijay,jadeja even kohli and pujara

  • on March 21, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    @ satishchandar- Cant agree with you more..but I think dhoni will opt for raina (the csk-raina-dhoni connecyion). We cant say that rahane has not been given chances..he failed again pakistan and england..but he truely deserves a chance in the white jersey..will be disappointed if i dont see him in the playing 11 tomorrow..

  • sanjaycrickfan on March 21, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Rahane has done everything right to get selected but I hope he gets to bat in the middle order. If he plays as an opener and even if he scores runs, he will be replaced by Dhawan when he comes back. If Raina plays in the middle order and scores runs, he will probably be retained which means Rahane will continue to be kept out which is unfair after all the waiting he has done over the past year and a half.

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    what i really like in rahane is his attitude.... you give him drinks bottle to carry to the players( who dont deserve to be in test squad) he carries... when a player who got selected ahead of him hits a century , HE smile with his hear out... when india win a match he again smiles with his heart out.....

    i think he will reach the games greatest heights, provided he gets some chances.....

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    i would like to see him rahane playing at number 3 in dehli match ( if only he gets chance, but thats ulikely now that raina has come to team ) ...pujara can open the innings ...... and the ideal spot for rahane is to fill the shoes of sachin ( another mumbaikar)...... RAHANE certainly deserves chance in next test.... yes he had failure against england in recent odis , but that is bound to happen if a person is benched too long , not having enough match practice, their confidence level will be low at this time..... if he had got the chances that rohit sharma got ( in ODI ) and raina got ( in tests ) he would have had atleast 4 centuries in his name with average of around 50.....

    poor guy he need to wait till selection panel feels he is ready......

  • RavishingRavish on March 21, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    I think Raina should be given chance for Delhi test. Pujara and Murali should open the innings. Considering long term test career and prospects for India, ohit should be considered ahead of Rahane. Offcourse lets not forget Rahane is one of the best T20 player but for test matched fingers crossed.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    All the best to Rahane. If good sense prevails then he in probability will make his test debut. A thing which should have happened to him atleast an year earlier. But with India's think tank and Dhoni's wierd tactics at times, we may see Pujara opening and Raina taking that middle order spot. And that might again keep Rahane waiting. But if Rahane does make his test debut, heres hoping he would do something to make his place permanent!

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Nobody deserves a chance more than Ajinkiya Rahane.... he's been waiting on the sidelines for way too long, in fact, the ONLY other person who deserves this chance as much as Rahane is Manoj Tiwary, both of them are domestic stars... and with our "legends" retiring, they may finally get what they deserve. And i personally think, If Sachin has no plans of playing in SA in December, then he should sit this one out, give someone like Raina a chance to prove if he truly has matured enough to play the 5 - Day Game.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Rahane looks one with talent and right temperament. He seem to be fit as well. Temperament and fitness is where Rohit Sharma lost out on a test spot. Its high time India tries out Rahane.

  • satishchandar on March 21, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Rahane does have technical issues but so do other players who might play.. It matters how well you try and counter your weakness in middle and score off other deliveries. He deserves slot on basis of his performance in the domestic matches. I would have Rahane bat anywhere in top 4.. He is a guy who loves to deal it with boundary scoring shots.. Just like Dhawan in last game.. His batting in IPL was steady and good to the eyes too..

    Bring him in as opener and prepare him as the next no.6 in SA.. If not, play Pujara as opener, Virat at 3 and Rahane at 6.. it would be too many changes but would prefer that as we can have the guy in team once before they leave to SA.. I would hate to see if Raina makes it to team at 6 ahead of Rahane.. Even if Raina succeeds here, he should struggle in SA on his recent form against pace.. There will no point in giving Raina chance to a slot which Rahane deserves..

  • muthu4664 on March 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Yes. This Guy need to be rewarded for his hard work & sincerity.I don't think any of the present cricketer have his average in First class cricket apart from Pujara. I firmly believe After Pujara he is the man who have solid technique to play in all conditions. If selectors & Captain really care for future of Indian Cricket this lad should get chance, lot only chance but should persist atleast for 5 to 7 tests in a row.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Rahane will be a sitting duck in his debut mark ma words,as he lacks confidence and his face expression says it all.Lack of footwork and confusion of playing defensive or aggressive will take him down in his international carrier.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Rahane failed 6 times in a row against WI A team. He failed repeatedly in the warm-up games in Australia. In ODIs, he has not done too well, but occasionally he has had some decent innings. Speaking of debuts, Rohit Sharma has been around much longer and has yet to make his debut.

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  • on March 21, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Rahane failed 6 times in a row against WI A team. He failed repeatedly in the warm-up games in Australia. In ODIs, he has not done too well, but occasionally he has had some decent innings. Speaking of debuts, Rohit Sharma has been around much longer and has yet to make his debut.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Rahane will be a sitting duck in his debut mark ma words,as he lacks confidence and his face expression says it all.Lack of footwork and confusion of playing defensive or aggressive will take him down in his international carrier.

  • muthu4664 on March 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Yes. This Guy need to be rewarded for his hard work & sincerity.I don't think any of the present cricketer have his average in First class cricket apart from Pujara. I firmly believe After Pujara he is the man who have solid technique to play in all conditions. If selectors & Captain really care for future of Indian Cricket this lad should get chance, lot only chance but should persist atleast for 5 to 7 tests in a row.

  • satishchandar on March 21, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Rahane does have technical issues but so do other players who might play.. It matters how well you try and counter your weakness in middle and score off other deliveries. He deserves slot on basis of his performance in the domestic matches. I would have Rahane bat anywhere in top 4.. He is a guy who loves to deal it with boundary scoring shots.. Just like Dhawan in last game.. His batting in IPL was steady and good to the eyes too..

    Bring him in as opener and prepare him as the next no.6 in SA.. If not, play Pujara as opener, Virat at 3 and Rahane at 6.. it would be too many changes but would prefer that as we can have the guy in team once before they leave to SA.. I would hate to see if Raina makes it to team at 6 ahead of Rahane.. Even if Raina succeeds here, he should struggle in SA on his recent form against pace.. There will no point in giving Raina chance to a slot which Rahane deserves..

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Rahane looks one with talent and right temperament. He seem to be fit as well. Temperament and fitness is where Rohit Sharma lost out on a test spot. Its high time India tries out Rahane.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Nobody deserves a chance more than Ajinkiya Rahane.... he's been waiting on the sidelines for way too long, in fact, the ONLY other person who deserves this chance as much as Rahane is Manoj Tiwary, both of them are domestic stars... and with our "legends" retiring, they may finally get what they deserve. And i personally think, If Sachin has no plans of playing in SA in December, then he should sit this one out, give someone like Raina a chance to prove if he truly has matured enough to play the 5 - Day Game.

  • on March 21, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    All the best to Rahane. If good sense prevails then he in probability will make his test debut. A thing which should have happened to him atleast an year earlier. But with India's think tank and Dhoni's wierd tactics at times, we may see Pujara opening and Raina taking that middle order spot. And that might again keep Rahane waiting. But if Rahane does make his test debut, heres hoping he would do something to make his place permanent!

  • RavishingRavish on March 21, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    I think Raina should be given chance for Delhi test. Pujara and Murali should open the innings. Considering long term test career and prospects for India, ohit should be considered ahead of Rahane. Offcourse lets not forget Rahane is one of the best T20 player but for test matched fingers crossed.

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    i would like to see him rahane playing at number 3 in dehli match ( if only he gets chance, but thats ulikely now that raina has come to team ) ...pujara can open the innings ...... and the ideal spot for rahane is to fill the shoes of sachin ( another mumbaikar)...... RAHANE certainly deserves chance in next test.... yes he had failure against england in recent odis , but that is bound to happen if a person is benched too long , not having enough match practice, their confidence level will be low at this time..... if he had got the chances that rohit sharma got ( in ODI ) and raina got ( in tests ) he would have had atleast 4 centuries in his name with average of around 50.....

    poor guy he need to wait till selection panel feels he is ready......

  • realfan on March 21, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    what i really like in rahane is his attitude.... you give him drinks bottle to carry to the players( who dont deserve to be in test squad) he carries... when a player who got selected ahead of him hits a century , HE smile with his hear out... when india win a match he again smiles with his heart out.....

    i think he will reach the games greatest heights, provided he gets some chances.....