India in South Africa 2013-14 November 26, 2013

Rahane gearing up to grab opportunity

25

The morning after Sachin Tendulkar's farewell Test ended at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Ajinkya Rahane arrived at the Mumbai Cricket Association's facility at Bandra-Kurla Complex, and began working long hours in the nets with former Mumbai coach Pravin Amre to prepare for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

"I've been practising with Amre sir and playing the short balls for the last nine-ten days with a wet rubber ball and plastic ball. I am sure that will help me a lot." Rahane told reporters at the Wankhede Stadium, a day after he was named in India's squad for the Test and ODI series in South Africa.

Despite being a regular in India's squad for more than two years, Rahane has rarely featured in the XI. However, Rahane is now believed to be the frontrunner to fill up the spot vacated by Tendulkar in the Test team.

"We will obviously miss Sachin a lot. Someone like Sachin has not only been a part of the Indian team for almost 24 years but has also carried the burden of all the expectations on his shoulders. We all will definitely miss him. At the same time, it's an opportunity for some of us, especially myself. But I don't want to be bogged down by the pressure. I just want to enjoy the moment and enjoy my opportunity."

Rahane's inclusion in the ODI squad came as a surprise to many and it indicated that he wouldn't be tagged as a Test specialist. "Having been selected for the ODIs as well, I am really happy for myself," he said. "I did well in the last CLT20 and I am really confident and looking forward to the series."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 3, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Abhishek Nayar could have made a good alrounder from long term perspective. Having 5 tests in England, World cup in Australia, you need one medium pace bowling option with batting ability. Off course, Irfan is a first choice option but as usual unavailable due to injuries.

  • playitstraight on December 1, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    Rahane has been the most unfortunate player in India like Rohit has been the most fortunate player. I hope he gets his chance, just unlucky that he got only one chance and was a bit nervous but I'm sure he'll prove himself in SA.

  • opto_pus on November 29, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Sandt -1, Dhawan 2, Vijay 3, Pujara 4, Kohli 5, Rohit 6,Rahane 7, Dhoni 8, Ashwin 9, Umesh 10, Zaheer 11, Shami Personally i would have .1.Dhawan, 2.Vijay, 3.Pujara, 4.Rohit, 5.Kohli, 6. Rahane, 7. Dhoni, 8. Ashwin, 9. Umesh, 10. B. Kumar, 11.Shami. For me Rohit is a much better batsmen at test cricket then Kohli, Kohli is very overrated, he is a good one day batsmen but at test cricket an average of 40 is very average, a good test batsmen should at least have average above 45 and a great batsmen over 50. Also Rohit has only played 2 test but scored 177 and 113 no so he is the man in the no.4 spot vacated by Tendulkar if Indiia use Kohli he will flop just a run of the mill test batsmen on bouncy pitches in SA, England and Australia, in more then 20 tests yet to score more then 150 in an away test by Kohli,says it all.

  • on November 29, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Rahane is a very solid player and he's very good of the front foot and also at the back foot.Rahane will come handy for India specially in test because he has a solid technique and far more convincing than Rayudu.But the only thing he needs to work on is to leave deliveries outside the off-stump because they will be in plenty with the likes of Steyn,Morkel and Philander...

  • sharma987 on November 29, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    murali vijay is onnna be complete flop in front of steyn & Co...should have considered gambhir or jaffer...in his place...quality spinner lacking..this tour could have been a big testing time 4 new al rounders and batsman from domestic for 2015

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 29, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Steyn is too good with the length deliveries. Rahane should watchout for those notorious out-swingers and not just short-pitch deliveries.

  • on November 28, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Will Rahane got this ...

  • on November 28, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    he may not be in final 11 bcz dhoni like to take jadeja

  • sachink.khanna on November 28, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Rahane didn't show much promise in home tests against Australia & England. I believe he may not be too successful batting with the lower order & tail and can be tried at No.4. But given how pivotal No.4 position is, he will end up batting at No.6 or 7. He needs to have a good knock, a confident 40 in first inning will do a lot good to him.

  • CricketFanIndUS on November 28, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    We are sorely missing an all rounder that is a pace bowler for overseas trips. This will allow for 4 pace bowlers as they may be needed for some pitches on overseas tours. As our current all rounders are spinners, Dhoni will likely elect to go with 3 pace bowlers, Ashwin, and 6 specialist batsmen for the first test in SA. So Rahane may very well get to bat in SA! I hope Rohit is given the coveted No. 4 spot as he will then have time to play long innings and more flexibility. One of the reasons is our tail enders can find it difficult to bat much on the SA pitches which are very different from what they are used to, especially with Bhuvi and Shami being rookies and Umesh being a No. 11. So our tail will look long it seems. Rohit had been waiting in the wings much longer than Rahane and with his ability to tackle pace and bounce he looks a good choice. Rohit hopefully will be given either the No.4 or the No.5 slot. Rahane hopefully will get a chance at No. 6. All the best Rahane!

  • on December 3, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Abhishek Nayar could have made a good alrounder from long term perspective. Having 5 tests in England, World cup in Australia, you need one medium pace bowling option with batting ability. Off course, Irfan is a first choice option but as usual unavailable due to injuries.

  • playitstraight on December 1, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    Rahane has been the most unfortunate player in India like Rohit has been the most fortunate player. I hope he gets his chance, just unlucky that he got only one chance and was a bit nervous but I'm sure he'll prove himself in SA.

  • opto_pus on November 29, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Sandt -1, Dhawan 2, Vijay 3, Pujara 4, Kohli 5, Rohit 6,Rahane 7, Dhoni 8, Ashwin 9, Umesh 10, Zaheer 11, Shami Personally i would have .1.Dhawan, 2.Vijay, 3.Pujara, 4.Rohit, 5.Kohli, 6. Rahane, 7. Dhoni, 8. Ashwin, 9. Umesh, 10. B. Kumar, 11.Shami. For me Rohit is a much better batsmen at test cricket then Kohli, Kohli is very overrated, he is a good one day batsmen but at test cricket an average of 40 is very average, a good test batsmen should at least have average above 45 and a great batsmen over 50. Also Rohit has only played 2 test but scored 177 and 113 no so he is the man in the no.4 spot vacated by Tendulkar if Indiia use Kohli he will flop just a run of the mill test batsmen on bouncy pitches in SA, England and Australia, in more then 20 tests yet to score more then 150 in an away test by Kohli,says it all.

  • on November 29, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    Rahane is a very solid player and he's very good of the front foot and also at the back foot.Rahane will come handy for India specially in test because he has a solid technique and far more convincing than Rayudu.But the only thing he needs to work on is to leave deliveries outside the off-stump because they will be in plenty with the likes of Steyn,Morkel and Philander...

  • sharma987 on November 29, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    murali vijay is onnna be complete flop in front of steyn & Co...should have considered gambhir or jaffer...in his place...quality spinner lacking..this tour could have been a big testing time 4 new al rounders and batsman from domestic for 2015

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 29, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Steyn is too good with the length deliveries. Rahane should watchout for those notorious out-swingers and not just short-pitch deliveries.

  • on November 28, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Will Rahane got this ...

  • on November 28, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    he may not be in final 11 bcz dhoni like to take jadeja

  • sachink.khanna on November 28, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Rahane didn't show much promise in home tests against Australia & England. I believe he may not be too successful batting with the lower order & tail and can be tried at No.4. But given how pivotal No.4 position is, he will end up batting at No.6 or 7. He needs to have a good knock, a confident 40 in first inning will do a lot good to him.

  • CricketFanIndUS on November 28, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    We are sorely missing an all rounder that is a pace bowler for overseas trips. This will allow for 4 pace bowlers as they may be needed for some pitches on overseas tours. As our current all rounders are spinners, Dhoni will likely elect to go with 3 pace bowlers, Ashwin, and 6 specialist batsmen for the first test in SA. So Rahane may very well get to bat in SA! I hope Rohit is given the coveted No. 4 spot as he will then have time to play long innings and more flexibility. One of the reasons is our tail enders can find it difficult to bat much on the SA pitches which are very different from what they are used to, especially with Bhuvi and Shami being rookies and Umesh being a No. 11. So our tail will look long it seems. Rohit had been waiting in the wings much longer than Rahane and with his ability to tackle pace and bounce he looks a good choice. Rohit hopefully will be given either the No.4 or the No.5 slot. Rahane hopefully will get a chance at No. 6. All the best Rahane!

  • SG_Styles on November 27, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Finally Rahane is set to be in the XI - barring out-of-brain decision (if MS take, any) - for an entire series ! This guy's been performing in the domestics well consistently for last 3-4 years - in all the formats. Now whatever position he get to bat, I just hope he will do well. Its heartening to see how smoothly Team India is going under transition ! With the likes of Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Pujara, Ashwin and (hereafter) Rahane, India is set for a bright future. Though not exactly replacing the old star-guns (Sehwag, Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman), but the young guys certainly have the potential (and its showing! ) to carry the hopes of the cricket-freak country ! Long way ahead !!

  • on November 27, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    India Batting order for next 4 tests (2 South Africa and 2 New Zealand), should should be this 1. Vijay 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. Rahane 5. Rohit 6. Kohli 7. Ashwin 8. Dhoni 9. Bhuvaneshwar/ Umesh 10. Zaheer 11. Shami. No place for jadeja in the team, India doesnt need player like him in this conditions, instead of that they should have choosen young Rishi Dhawan, he would have also no tge the chance, but he would have got the feel of conditions and atleast would have got to bowl in the nets, that would have help him when he would have debuted.

  • Aviator003 on November 27, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Walk the talk - it is not just short pitch stuff but the swing and seam which Steyn and Philander bowl. No batter howsoever great in modern times has found it comfortable and the likes of Raydu, Vijay and to some extent Dhavan will be too easy for them. But first with MSD - get into the team.

  • on November 27, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    If Rahane can play his normal game which has brought him runs at an average of over 65 in first class cricket he should succeed. But if he plays under undue pressure like he did in his 1st Test against Australia, then the SA bowlers may take advantage. It is in India's interests that a solid batsman like him comes good.

  • Sandt on November 27, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    My Playing XI in SA test is 1, Dhawan 2, Vijay 3, Pujara 4, Kohli 5, Rohit 6,Rahane 7, Dhoni 8, Ashwin 9, Umesh 10, Zaheer 11, Shami

  • SamRoy on November 27, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    Ummm.. I am not sure that I like Rahane over Rayudu at 6. Rayudu has more time when playing express pace and he is famous for taking his team out of trouble every time in domestic cricket. Yes, he throws it away after reaching a 70 or 80 but for a No. 6 that is all you need. Also Rahane showed a huge gap between bat and pad against Steven Finn. But if India play aggressively with 5 bowlers and 4 pacers (Zak, Shami, Bhuvi and Umesh) and Ashwin at 7 there is no place for either Rayudu or Rahane. If Dhoni plays Jadeja at 7 in Wanderers it would be committing suicide as he won't turn a single ball and would be hammered and will not score more than 10. If there is some help in Durban (as there was last time) can think of playing Ashwin at 7 and Jadeja at 8 in Durban but not in Wanderers. In Wanderers spinners won't do any damage but Ashwin is worth a place as a lower order batsman alone.

  • cooljack_143 on November 26, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    To all SA fans,,,before you talk about so called Short stuff, try to win or at least level the ongoing series with Pak at home. I wonder whether if Steyn can keep himself fit before India arrives. Every one knows how SA crumbled in 1st test vs Pak, in UAE..MSD & Fletcher would already made plans vs your batsmen.I wont be surprised if Ind win the series 1-0.SA is not some MINE LAND or something that Indians cant play there.Respect your opponents, you will get the respect.

  • on November 26, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Rahane this may finally be your chance... have been waiting for this long along with Rohit. One has come true and now is your chance. I just hope Dhoni plays him ahead of Jadeja in SA. He is going to be the rock solid batsmen but we will have to concentrate hard on spending long hours at the crease, runs will automatically follow. Just hope do well this time in SA>

  • Unmesh_cric on November 26, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    I really hope Rahane features in the playing XI in SA Tests. Who knows Dhoni may even opt for Jadeja ahead of Rahane saying that we need 5 bowlers. But that would really be a bad idea. In SA conditions, we need proper batsmen. With all due respect to Dhoni and Jadeja they can be exposed by Steyn and Co. if the second new ball is taken when they come in. My playing XI (and batting order) would read like this: 1. Dhawan 2. Vijay 3. Pujara 4. Rahane 5. Kohli 6. Rohit 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Shami 11. Umesh/Zak I think it would not be a good idea to play Rahane at No. 6. That is because if he ends up tail-enders, he may not be able to hit big shots like Rohit and Kohli. The best place for him would be No. 4. He can play his normal game at that spot. Good luck, Rahane!

  • viru-319-219 on November 26, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    @Englishfan ........ Completely agree with you Sir! Kohli is incredible in limited overs where he can play lofted shots to short balls but he has not been that impressive with his backfoot defence and that is why he averages in 40's and another thing about Kohli is he pokes outside off stump when trying to defend which may be dangerous against SA in SA, he is a very quick learner as he has shown in AUS but 2 match series doesn't give him time to learn and apply it to his game.... I just hope he atleast learns. And No 4 spot should be taken by Rohit and not Kohli just because of the natural talent Rohit has and the kind of start he has got to his test career(talking about temperament in eden gardens) Kohli should be a long term No 5 and Rahane 6. Please no Jadeja in tests outside subcontinent

  • CodandChips on November 26, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    @bhushanB I agree it should have been a longer series. As a neutral I'd love it. I agree with what you say on South Africa's bowlers, but India have a talented batting line-up. The only batsman I would be worried about if I was Indian would be Kohli. Yes he is incredible in ODIS but in tests only averages 40 and I don't think he can play the short quick stuff too well. But your other batsmen should be able to cope. This is not the Indian team of 2011/12

  • bhushanB on November 26, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    @Englishfan.... You sound too optimistic..... playing tests against SA in SA, with the kind of attack they have in Steyn, Morkel, Philander.....

    There is no respite for batsmen... no bowler to target.... and all three are very very different......batsmen have to change their approach with each of them over after over... no time to relax.. just as seem to be content that you've seen off a fierce Steyn over... Morkel comes with bounces... pushing you to the backfoot... then philander comes and makes you drive from backfoot....

    What a series it could have been, if only it were are 3-test series...

  • bhushanB on November 26, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    Good luck Rahane.....

    And please do not try that lofted shot on the offside, to get out of trouble... Just keep your head down and play few more balls.....

    I am more curious about your technique and temperament, than the runs you would score in this series... because it is just the beginning... not every one needs a ton in the first few to shine

  • CodandChips on November 26, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Good luck young man. He has to play in my opinion. India have talented players but are inexperienced. Dhawan and Sharma haven't played tests outside India. It will be an interesting learning curve for all of them in alien conditions against the best bowling unit in tests over the last 2 years. Therefore India have to play 6 specialist batsmen. Rahane should do well as he showed in CLT20and IPL that he has good temperament and has experience against some good quick bowlers.

    I think Dhawan will do fine- he likes to play those cut shots. Rohit plays the pull. Will be interesting for Pujara who as an excellent average, and Vijay of looks like he can bat time.

  • viru-319-219 on November 26, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    If Rahane does well and cements his place in the squad, there is very less chance for any other batsmen to make it to Indian team for 7 to 8 years. Dhawan,pujara,kohli,rohit,rahane are very young and can play for another 10 years and with the talent they have I expect them to have more success than failures. Vijay's spot is the only spot that may be up for grabs because of his habit of having extended poor form and bad thing is there are not many consistent openers coming along, middle order has many contenders at domestic level but not opening positions. Dhoni's spot may be occupied by Sanju (the way he is performing consistently and very good technique plus Dhoni might be around test team for couple of years) So only one opener spot might be up for grabs for next 10 years for domestic batsmen in top 6 or 7. surprisingly India looks like having a consistent bowling attack with Shami,Bhuvi and Umesh or Ishant. all good news for Team India...... Team will be same till 2023 :)

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  • viru-319-219 on November 26, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    If Rahane does well and cements his place in the squad, there is very less chance for any other batsmen to make it to Indian team for 7 to 8 years. Dhawan,pujara,kohli,rohit,rahane are very young and can play for another 10 years and with the talent they have I expect them to have more success than failures. Vijay's spot is the only spot that may be up for grabs because of his habit of having extended poor form and bad thing is there are not many consistent openers coming along, middle order has many contenders at domestic level but not opening positions. Dhoni's spot may be occupied by Sanju (the way he is performing consistently and very good technique plus Dhoni might be around test team for couple of years) So only one opener spot might be up for grabs for next 10 years for domestic batsmen in top 6 or 7. surprisingly India looks like having a consistent bowling attack with Shami,Bhuvi and Umesh or Ishant. all good news for Team India...... Team will be same till 2023 :)

  • CodandChips on November 26, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Good luck young man. He has to play in my opinion. India have talented players but are inexperienced. Dhawan and Sharma haven't played tests outside India. It will be an interesting learning curve for all of them in alien conditions against the best bowling unit in tests over the last 2 years. Therefore India have to play 6 specialist batsmen. Rahane should do well as he showed in CLT20and IPL that he has good temperament and has experience against some good quick bowlers.

    I think Dhawan will do fine- he likes to play those cut shots. Rohit plays the pull. Will be interesting for Pujara who as an excellent average, and Vijay of looks like he can bat time.

  • bhushanB on November 26, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    Good luck Rahane.....

    And please do not try that lofted shot on the offside, to get out of trouble... Just keep your head down and play few more balls.....

    I am more curious about your technique and temperament, than the runs you would score in this series... because it is just the beginning... not every one needs a ton in the first few to shine

  • bhushanB on November 26, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    @Englishfan.... You sound too optimistic..... playing tests against SA in SA, with the kind of attack they have in Steyn, Morkel, Philander.....

    There is no respite for batsmen... no bowler to target.... and all three are very very different......batsmen have to change their approach with each of them over after over... no time to relax.. just as seem to be content that you've seen off a fierce Steyn over... Morkel comes with bounces... pushing you to the backfoot... then philander comes and makes you drive from backfoot....

    What a series it could have been, if only it were are 3-test series...

  • CodandChips on November 26, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    @bhushanB I agree it should have been a longer series. As a neutral I'd love it. I agree with what you say on South Africa's bowlers, but India have a talented batting line-up. The only batsman I would be worried about if I was Indian would be Kohli. Yes he is incredible in ODIS but in tests only averages 40 and I don't think he can play the short quick stuff too well. But your other batsmen should be able to cope. This is not the Indian team of 2011/12

  • viru-319-219 on November 26, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    @Englishfan ........ Completely agree with you Sir! Kohli is incredible in limited overs where he can play lofted shots to short balls but he has not been that impressive with his backfoot defence and that is why he averages in 40's and another thing about Kohli is he pokes outside off stump when trying to defend which may be dangerous against SA in SA, he is a very quick learner as he has shown in AUS but 2 match series doesn't give him time to learn and apply it to his game.... I just hope he atleast learns. And No 4 spot should be taken by Rohit and not Kohli just because of the natural talent Rohit has and the kind of start he has got to his test career(talking about temperament in eden gardens) Kohli should be a long term No 5 and Rahane 6. Please no Jadeja in tests outside subcontinent

  • Unmesh_cric on November 26, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    I really hope Rahane features in the playing XI in SA Tests. Who knows Dhoni may even opt for Jadeja ahead of Rahane saying that we need 5 bowlers. But that would really be a bad idea. In SA conditions, we need proper batsmen. With all due respect to Dhoni and Jadeja they can be exposed by Steyn and Co. if the second new ball is taken when they come in. My playing XI (and batting order) would read like this: 1. Dhawan 2. Vijay 3. Pujara 4. Rahane 5. Kohli 6. Rohit 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Shami 11. Umesh/Zak I think it would not be a good idea to play Rahane at No. 6. That is because if he ends up tail-enders, he may not be able to hit big shots like Rohit and Kohli. The best place for him would be No. 4. He can play his normal game at that spot. Good luck, Rahane!

  • on November 26, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Rahane this may finally be your chance... have been waiting for this long along with Rohit. One has come true and now is your chance. I just hope Dhoni plays him ahead of Jadeja in SA. He is going to be the rock solid batsmen but we will have to concentrate hard on spending long hours at the crease, runs will automatically follow. Just hope do well this time in SA>

  • cooljack_143 on November 26, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    To all SA fans,,,before you talk about so called Short stuff, try to win or at least level the ongoing series with Pak at home. I wonder whether if Steyn can keep himself fit before India arrives. Every one knows how SA crumbled in 1st test vs Pak, in UAE..MSD & Fletcher would already made plans vs your batsmen.I wont be surprised if Ind win the series 1-0.SA is not some MINE LAND or something that Indians cant play there.Respect your opponents, you will get the respect.

  • SamRoy on November 27, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    Ummm.. I am not sure that I like Rahane over Rayudu at 6. Rayudu has more time when playing express pace and he is famous for taking his team out of trouble every time in domestic cricket. Yes, he throws it away after reaching a 70 or 80 but for a No. 6 that is all you need. Also Rahane showed a huge gap between bat and pad against Steven Finn. But if India play aggressively with 5 bowlers and 4 pacers (Zak, Shami, Bhuvi and Umesh) and Ashwin at 7 there is no place for either Rayudu or Rahane. If Dhoni plays Jadeja at 7 in Wanderers it would be committing suicide as he won't turn a single ball and would be hammered and will not score more than 10. If there is some help in Durban (as there was last time) can think of playing Ashwin at 7 and Jadeja at 8 in Durban but not in Wanderers. In Wanderers spinners won't do any damage but Ashwin is worth a place as a lower order batsman alone.