South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 5th day December 30, 2013

Rahane showcases his No. 6 mettle

69

Dravid: Rahane, a huge plus for India

On this trip to South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane has taken blows from Dale Steyn bouncers that have not got up as expected, making his ducking technique look ungainly. He has also shown too much deference to a senior bowler who has shown scant respect for the specialist batsmen batting at the other end. He has paid for it, being stranded on 51, and possibly with a series defeat.

Rahane also got India two run-outs to save the team in Johannesburg. He also cut Vernon Philander for a six in Durban. For a man who had spent many a tour and series warming up the bench, carrying drinks, wondering when his opportunity will come, he has taken his chance with both hands, even though it arrived in the most difficult of conditions to bat in. Over the past 10 days of cricket, you can see Rahane has grown as a batsman. India knew they had Virat kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara; Rahane might just be their biggest gain from this Test series.

Rahane has gone about his work in a quiet unassuming fashion. Much like his batting. Most importantly, though, he has shown ticker. Even when he was taking those blows in the first innings from Steyn, and the verbals that came with it, Rahane didn't play a soft shot. He battled on, though it was questionable to give Zaheer Khan the strike with five deliveries to go in a Steyn over. Sure enough, two wickets fell in those five balls, including a dreadful swipe from Zaheer first up. It made you wonder if No. 6, a position which requires a strong personality and big-hitting when batting with the tail, was the place for him.

In the second innings, Rahane showed it was. He was clear in raising his hand to Zaheer, who wanted to the singles, sending him back to the non-striker's end. When the need arose for the big hits, Rahane got them successfully away even with eight fielders back. That cut for six, which took Rahane from 90 to 96, is not what many have seen in a Test in Durban. Rahane might have missed out on the hundred, but he showed versatility: resolute defence, concentration, firmness to farm strikes with seniors, willingness to look ugly in the pursuit of scoring runs, and big hitting when needed.

Rahane was India's only highlight on a bleak final day of what had otherwise been a decent series for them. "Rahane batted really well," captain MS Dhoni said. "[While] he was with us on bench, he kept working hard on fitness and technique, and how he wanted to approach his game. So when he got his chance, the most important thing was to accept it and do well. In this Test series has batted really well. Looked quite compact in all the innings. That's a big positive for us."

Rahane finished as India's third-highest run-getter in the series, but he was in the most precarious position of all before the series began. He is not picked for ODIs, which gives him no buffer if he fails in the Tests. He has had no soft launching pad. Like Kohli in the West Indies and Australia, he has had his first real series in testing conditions. Kohli was dropped after that West Indies tour in 2011 after he had some trouble with the short ball. Kohli has previously said that axing was a big lesson for him.

This 96 has made sure Rahane will not have to bounce back like Kohli had to. Especially not if he keeps wearing those blows as medals and keeps coming back up for more.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on December 31, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    @ Sir-Ivor: I remember R.B.Kenny very well & had gone to the extent of using his initials R.B. for remembering litmus paper tests- alkaline in my school days. Yes Kenny was very talented bat who slipped between the cracks similar to Abbas Ali Baig or Deepak Shodhan - each scored a century in their test debut. There were many talents left on the shelf due to Selection politics & Jaisimha really nailed it with a century & 75 after SOS recall in OZ tour 1967-68. Vinoo Mankad did the same in Lords Test Match. Yes every good Cricketer also needs a God Father to plead his case. Rahane has been benched at least 20 times by MSD & finally when included his class showed. Rahane has Dravid as his idol & he played an innings comparable to Dravid himself. Currently Pujara is in the same position re: being kept out of ODI's. Even his test entry was almost treated like a favour. But he grabbed it & class showed as he has a Test average of >66 after 17 matches. Rahane should follow Pujara's example!

  • on December 31, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Yes, Rahane is the find of the SA tour, I always believed that Rahane is best batsmen when compared to Yuvi, Raina, Rohit in test matches. He has very cool head and lots of patience which is required in test cricket. Few more good knocks at No. 6 will make sure he is permanent member of Indian test squad. He is very good in the field (the two run outs) and open the innings too as he has done the same for Mumbai. Dhoni made a great choice of playing Rahane ahead of others. Next India will tour the NZ that will test Dhawan, Rohit, Kholi, Rahane, Vijay and Pujara that will give the answers to the question can these players replace/fill the boots of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. India should opt for a fast bowling allrounders like Stuart Binny or LRS whosoever is playing Ranaji Trophy. I hope the selecters are taking a note of this.

  • yoogi on January 4, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    I think rahane is bettersuited at no 5 than at no 6. when one goes not out on so many occasions, time to give him his due than an unproven soul in foriegn soil. Hopefully he will establish himself at no 5 over time just the way kohli and pujara cemented their place. It is not irony that Dhonis favourite players like jadeja ashwin and rohit are not performing consistently.

  • jimmyvida on January 3, 2014, 20:05 GMT

    We never seem to learn. One series and we praise the player to the skies. Suppose, just suppose Rahane fails in NZ. What would you say. What if Dhawan and Dhoni perform well in NZ and all the others fail. I am sure sticking to your overwhelming logic, drop all the other jokers and tour with these two. Of course, you need more players to make up the team. So back to the raffle system.

  • Naresh28 on January 2, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    @salil - we have too many passengers in the Indian test team. The last overseas outings can be seen. Dhoni is not a TEST batsman - he needs to be replaced by a player like DInesh Karthik. Rohit (as much as we see talent in him) is just not patient enough - we thought he turned the corner recently? Dhawan should only look at Shewag - it really hurts the test team when these guys are out early. In team selection we win when we take 5 bowlers instead of the 4 - Dhoni is answerable to this. I hope the recent selection of PANDEY will answer our pace bowling problem. Whatever happened to one fast bowler who was spoken of 3 years ago - ATUL SHARMA? WHere is he?

  • 20ty2yards on January 2, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    You are perhaps correct - Mumbai have always managed to produce good batsman over the years

    However, if you look at Indian selection over the years, you will find that Maharastra/ Bombay players were always preferred over players from other state. Rohit Sharma & ajit Agarkar are glaring examples or be it Sameer Dighe, Nilesh Kulkarini, Kanitkar, Bahutule, Kuruvilla etc... in the last 15 years or so

  • on January 1, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    This series showed that Indian batsmen can develop the technique to play on foreign pitches--with one proviso. Playing in New Zealand requires even better technique in cold,wet conditions where the ball will swing and seam like Headingley in all centres. Virat,Cheteshwar and Rahane have showed the technique, temperament and will to battle it out and graft for runs. Will Rohit show the same mettle? He has not done well in South Africa-- 4 innings is not enough to write him the way ESPN fans tend to do. He and Shikar just need to hone their technique a bit. Both are great batsmen capable of scoring big runs abroad. They are not like Yuvi and Raina who have been given exyended runs. Yuvi is suspect both against raw pace and swing. Raina the short ball and seaming conditions.

    Let us write them both off after a trial of at least 8 Tests --12 to 16 innings.

    Salil

  • harishchandran on January 1, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Just a reflection on the just concluded series; Based on these statistics, can we say Indian team has hope ? I say "Hello o Ya"

    Did they exceed expectations and will this hold them in Good stead and am I pleased.. Oh YES

    (SC = Subcontinent; AM=Away Matches; M=Matches)*

    India SC* AM* Age S Africa M* Age S Dhawan 3 2 28 G Smith 114 32 M Vijay 14 6 29 A Ptrson 28 33 C Pujara 13 4 25 H Amla 73 30 V Kohli 13 9 25 J Kallis 166 38 R Sharma 2 2 26 A B D 89 29 A Rahane 1 2 25 F D Plesis 11 29 M S Dhoni 81 32 J P Dmy 21 29 R Ashwin 15 4 27 R Ptrsn 14 34 R Jadeja 5 1 25 V Phldr 20 28 I Sharma 53 25 D Steyn 69 30 Z Khan 90 35 M Morkel 53 29 M Shami 2 2 23 I Tahir 13 34 U Yadav 5 4 25 K Abbott 1 26 P Ohja 24 0 27 D Elgar 7 26 B Kumar 6 0 23 R Klveldt 4 30 Avg 13.4 26.6 Avg 45.5 30.4

    For SA; since they played on Home conditions considered total matches. For Zaher, Ishant, Dhoni as they have played more than 50 matches considered total matches.

  • Nathan_R_Patrick on December 31, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    In general, players with maharashtrian culture (no offense intended towards others) grow up with learning how to be patient. We have so many examples so far. Because the upbringing is either tough or deliberately made tough. If one has to succeed regardless in life, they should find a maharashtrian foster family to live with for few years while growing up. Suddenly your sense of entitlement is brought down by 90%. Starting with parents, siblings, neighbors, teachers - everyone is extremely harsh with you. Ajinkya learned this naturally at home so he considered sitting on the sideline, a natural course of action. I'm just appalled that maharashtrian players still get the same kind of treatment that they have been receiving for years. Times have changed but the selection process is still biased in picking up players from all over india except maharashtra even though they prove their worth time and again. Well done, Ajinkya!!

  • doubtingthomas on December 31, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    A more important question might be, that what is the other passenger (Rohit Sharma) in the team doing? He should not be chosen in the side for abroad tournaments.

  • Nampally on December 31, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    @ Sir-Ivor: I remember R.B.Kenny very well & had gone to the extent of using his initials R.B. for remembering litmus paper tests- alkaline in my school days. Yes Kenny was very talented bat who slipped between the cracks similar to Abbas Ali Baig or Deepak Shodhan - each scored a century in their test debut. There were many talents left on the shelf due to Selection politics & Jaisimha really nailed it with a century & 75 after SOS recall in OZ tour 1967-68. Vinoo Mankad did the same in Lords Test Match. Yes every good Cricketer also needs a God Father to plead his case. Rahane has been benched at least 20 times by MSD & finally when included his class showed. Rahane has Dravid as his idol & he played an innings comparable to Dravid himself. Currently Pujara is in the same position re: being kept out of ODI's. Even his test entry was almost treated like a favour. But he grabbed it & class showed as he has a Test average of >66 after 17 matches. Rahane should follow Pujara's example!

  • on December 31, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Yes, Rahane is the find of the SA tour, I always believed that Rahane is best batsmen when compared to Yuvi, Raina, Rohit in test matches. He has very cool head and lots of patience which is required in test cricket. Few more good knocks at No. 6 will make sure he is permanent member of Indian test squad. He is very good in the field (the two run outs) and open the innings too as he has done the same for Mumbai. Dhoni made a great choice of playing Rahane ahead of others. Next India will tour the NZ that will test Dhawan, Rohit, Kholi, Rahane, Vijay and Pujara that will give the answers to the question can these players replace/fill the boots of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. India should opt for a fast bowling allrounders like Stuart Binny or LRS whosoever is playing Ranaji Trophy. I hope the selecters are taking a note of this.

  • yoogi on January 4, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    I think rahane is bettersuited at no 5 than at no 6. when one goes not out on so many occasions, time to give him his due than an unproven soul in foriegn soil. Hopefully he will establish himself at no 5 over time just the way kohli and pujara cemented their place. It is not irony that Dhonis favourite players like jadeja ashwin and rohit are not performing consistently.

  • jimmyvida on January 3, 2014, 20:05 GMT

    We never seem to learn. One series and we praise the player to the skies. Suppose, just suppose Rahane fails in NZ. What would you say. What if Dhawan and Dhoni perform well in NZ and all the others fail. I am sure sticking to your overwhelming logic, drop all the other jokers and tour with these two. Of course, you need more players to make up the team. So back to the raffle system.

  • Naresh28 on January 2, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    @salil - we have too many passengers in the Indian test team. The last overseas outings can be seen. Dhoni is not a TEST batsman - he needs to be replaced by a player like DInesh Karthik. Rohit (as much as we see talent in him) is just not patient enough - we thought he turned the corner recently? Dhawan should only look at Shewag - it really hurts the test team when these guys are out early. In team selection we win when we take 5 bowlers instead of the 4 - Dhoni is answerable to this. I hope the recent selection of PANDEY will answer our pace bowling problem. Whatever happened to one fast bowler who was spoken of 3 years ago - ATUL SHARMA? WHere is he?

  • 20ty2yards on January 2, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    You are perhaps correct - Mumbai have always managed to produce good batsman over the years

    However, if you look at Indian selection over the years, you will find that Maharastra/ Bombay players were always preferred over players from other state. Rohit Sharma & ajit Agarkar are glaring examples or be it Sameer Dighe, Nilesh Kulkarini, Kanitkar, Bahutule, Kuruvilla etc... in the last 15 years or so

  • on January 1, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    This series showed that Indian batsmen can develop the technique to play on foreign pitches--with one proviso. Playing in New Zealand requires even better technique in cold,wet conditions where the ball will swing and seam like Headingley in all centres. Virat,Cheteshwar and Rahane have showed the technique, temperament and will to battle it out and graft for runs. Will Rohit show the same mettle? He has not done well in South Africa-- 4 innings is not enough to write him the way ESPN fans tend to do. He and Shikar just need to hone their technique a bit. Both are great batsmen capable of scoring big runs abroad. They are not like Yuvi and Raina who have been given exyended runs. Yuvi is suspect both against raw pace and swing. Raina the short ball and seaming conditions.

    Let us write them both off after a trial of at least 8 Tests --12 to 16 innings.

    Salil

  • harishchandran on January 1, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Just a reflection on the just concluded series; Based on these statistics, can we say Indian team has hope ? I say "Hello o Ya"

    Did they exceed expectations and will this hold them in Good stead and am I pleased.. Oh YES

    (SC = Subcontinent; AM=Away Matches; M=Matches)*

    India SC* AM* Age S Africa M* Age S Dhawan 3 2 28 G Smith 114 32 M Vijay 14 6 29 A Ptrson 28 33 C Pujara 13 4 25 H Amla 73 30 V Kohli 13 9 25 J Kallis 166 38 R Sharma 2 2 26 A B D 89 29 A Rahane 1 2 25 F D Plesis 11 29 M S Dhoni 81 32 J P Dmy 21 29 R Ashwin 15 4 27 R Ptrsn 14 34 R Jadeja 5 1 25 V Phldr 20 28 I Sharma 53 25 D Steyn 69 30 Z Khan 90 35 M Morkel 53 29 M Shami 2 2 23 I Tahir 13 34 U Yadav 5 4 25 K Abbott 1 26 P Ohja 24 0 27 D Elgar 7 26 B Kumar 6 0 23 R Klveldt 4 30 Avg 13.4 26.6 Avg 45.5 30.4

    For SA; since they played on Home conditions considered total matches. For Zaher, Ishant, Dhoni as they have played more than 50 matches considered total matches.

  • Nathan_R_Patrick on December 31, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    In general, players with maharashtrian culture (no offense intended towards others) grow up with learning how to be patient. We have so many examples so far. Because the upbringing is either tough or deliberately made tough. If one has to succeed regardless in life, they should find a maharashtrian foster family to live with for few years while growing up. Suddenly your sense of entitlement is brought down by 90%. Starting with parents, siblings, neighbors, teachers - everyone is extremely harsh with you. Ajinkya learned this naturally at home so he considered sitting on the sideline, a natural course of action. I'm just appalled that maharashtrian players still get the same kind of treatment that they have been receiving for years. Times have changed but the selection process is still biased in picking up players from all over india except maharashtra even though they prove their worth time and again. Well done, Ajinkya!!

  • doubtingthomas on December 31, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    A more important question might be, that what is the other passenger (Rohit Sharma) in the team doing? He should not be chosen in the side for abroad tournaments.

  • on December 31, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    The difference in S.Africa between the 2 teams was indian bowling was not penetrative enough to contain all the batsman. If the top order scored less the middle or the lower middle flourished. Also the killer instinct was lacking amongst Indian batsman with the ecception of Pujara, Kohli, Murali Vijay and Rahane all others failed badly.

    No excuse can be given for this except poor captaincy ,poor execution of shots from the non- performing batsman., and lack of incisive bowling on the part of Indian team.

  • BellCurve on December 31, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    Boys, don't get over excited. The Durban pitch was a batman's dream. It looked like something that Team India brought over from home in their luggage. A true sub-continent bowler's graveyard. You should be asking why your other batsmen didn't score big runs. India is super lucky to get away with 1-0. It should have been 3-0 or 4-0.

  • Naresh28 on December 31, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    RAHANE was excellent and needs a run as an opener with Vijay. Drop Dhawan and Rohit who get bored with test cricket and just dont have the temperament for Test cricket - leave them as Odi specialists. bring in Dinesh Karthik as wicky/batsman. TIME WE HAD PROPER TRAINING OF FAST BOWLERS to create a pool and also use it for selection purposes. BCCI must create the ACADEMY , trainers and proper fast pitch - all in one. We lack a champion bowler like ANIL KUMBLE to lead the bowlers.

  • Koonnnu on December 31, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    And yet, when in the near future if Yuvraj Singh or Suresh Raina decide to play test cricket, it will be Rahane who will be axed. It's all about who is close to the captain these days or you have to be flamboyant and outspoken and "be seen" to get noticed. I fear that Rahane will suffer because he is not in CSK and despite his heroics in the Test (batting and fielding), he will be the one who will suffer if Captain Cool wants one of his cronies back.

  • Prats6 on December 31, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Very very impressed with Rahane. He deserves an extended run at No.5. I had hoped Rohit prove us all wrong but not to be. Still think, we can persist with him for the next 2 tests Vs NZ as well. We can get a Gambhir or a Sehwag in the middle order as an experienced hand, which we clearly lacked in this Tests. Pujara & Kohli, meanwhile just reiterated the faith that has been put in them.

  • Sir_Ivor on December 31, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    I hope the sledge that Steyn gave Rohit Sharma causes him to introspect and realise that he has to look at himself if he wants to play at the highest level and justify the talent he is said to possess. Those that have seen him play from a younger age believe he has so much time to play his strokes that he is a born genius. I am afraid this does not cut any ice with me. It is of no use if a batsman has the ability of playing the shot after the bowler has finished his follow through !! If he is distracted easily,that God given virtue is of no use. I feel Rohit needs to seek some counselling on the way he can come to terms with his talent. It is only then that he will be consistent at the highest level. My own suggestion is for the selectors to make him the Captain in the Tests and Virat Kohli in the limited over games to enable him to be ready for the WC in 2015. Dhoni should ideally be kept away from captaincy.I think that will enale Rohit to counter Dale Steyn on the field of play !!

  • 20ty2yards on December 31, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    @Kiwirocker - I agree that ICC test rankings are flawed- given Pak team performance in ZIM, they should be rated lowly 10. And of all teams Pak has the worse batting talent- Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq etc.. that is a joke.

  • on December 31, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    The Indian think tank should be ashamed to have kept picking players like Mukund, Saha, Badrinath, Jadeja, Rohit, Dhawan over a kid who showed all signs of pure test class since 2007-08

  • on December 31, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    I know pujara and kohli will do well. but this little man won more accolades. he got hit on d helmet. sledged by steyn. but, wat a cool headed player he was. Jus pleased wit his performance.

  • rajuramki on December 31, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    The batting slots in the present Indian team appears to be in order , except that Rohit has to be replaced by Rayudu . I am sure Rayudu will atleast try to protect his wicket rather than throw it like Rohit has done on this tour . Rahane is good at no :5 ,which means that India will have their best batsmen at 3,4 &5. As far bowling , I do not know what Ishant has done to merit selection . A rookie like Pankaj will do much better than him . For the NZ tour, Ishant has to be shown the door .The spin combination can include Razool, who like Ashwin can also bat competently .

  • on December 31, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    @ KiwiRocker Without adoubt this Indian line up is far from great. We missed a spinner like Kumble. Our fast bowlers arent good. We dint play Umesh Yadav! We have positives though. Pujara, kohli and Rahane. The next gen superstarts who will soon be blowing away opposition. Dhawan was as expected a flat track bully. About Rohit, the lesser said the better. Dhoni is a curse on our test team, both as a captain and a batsman. Even his keeping overseas hasnt been great(read England '11). And about Pakistan being a better side? Did you forget the drubbing at the hands of Zimbabwe?

  • Sir_Ivor on December 31, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Ramnath Kennyused to play for Bombay in the 50s.He was probably the most technically correct batsman from that land of super technicians and the coaching manual.He was also a qualified coach.Readers will see how good he was if they know that it was he who coached Sunil Gavaskar ! Unfortunately,Kenny played only 5 tests even though he did fairly well in the chances that he got.The most important innings that he played in my opinion was in the second innings against Australia on the Green Park minefield in 1959 which India won.That Australian team had the likes of Davidson Meckiff and Benaud among others. But he scored 51 in the second innings of that game which helped India win.Rahane reminds me of Kenny. Small built but courageous,technically perfect yet not demonstrative,both got their Test baptism late but when they did, they played against the best bowlers and inspired complete confidence.Rahane like Kenny does not have any godfathers.He should be opening for India really.

  • on December 31, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Give Rayudu couple of chances, just to test whether he belongs to this level or not?

  • Sir_Ivor on December 31, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    KiwiRocker for all his intense hatred for Indian cricket and players, should know facts before he writes his usual acid comments. Pakistan was thrashed 3-0 in South Africa earlier this year in which among other lows they were also all out for 49 in one innings in the 2nd Test. That apart they played on the slower wickets of Centurion,Newlands and Port Elizabeth.India on the other hand played at Wanderers and Durban both fast wickets.When South Africa played them in the Thar Deserts, Pakistan one the first Test. maybe this is what KiwiRocker is talking about.Pakistan was then thrashed in the second Test and that series was drawn. They also lost the ODIs soon thereafter. They were then invited to South Africa where they won 2-1. the second of those matches by 1 wicket. KwiRocker mus also realise that the ICC rankings are on some bases not on the whims of commentmakers.I wish he would learn facts before writing these comments.

  • shanks1967 on December 31, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    @Kiwirocker: None of us are claiming that the current Indian batting line up is great. It is work in progress. The difference between SA and India was DALE STEYN. Period. You can go hype that Pakistan won here and there. We are talking about good cricket teams here. Pakistan is certainly not among them except for Saeed Ajmal. Paki batting is absolutely trash. Well, India is going to be playing away most of the next 12 months. This team will mature. The Big WEAK link for India is bowling. There are no good bowlers with the X FACTOR that a Steyn or Philander or Mitchell Johnson or even a Saeed Ajmal bring to the table. That is India's core problem. How the team is going to address that is going to be the big challenge for this young side. As for Kallis he does not need your certificate. As for Tendulkar, ALL THE WORLD'S Greatest players have rated him and hence he does not need KIWIROCKER CERTIFICATE OF GREATNESS.Thanks.

  • on December 31, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    This tour has benefited India to a great extent. We have found replacements for Dravid in Pujara, Kohli in Tendulkar and Rehane in Laxman. Rohit lack application and to some extent technique to succeed in tests ,,rahane needs to bat at number 5 ,,not sure who is the better fit for number 6 looking in the domestic circuit manpreet juneja ,,sheldon jackson and to some extent kedhar jadhav he can play shots but not sure about his technique,,,shikhar dhawan is not a test batsmen outside india ,,,vijay also have some technique faults ,,,seen KL Rahul of karnatka bat ,,and he looks like a good bet for opening slot ,has the technique and temperament to succeed at the international level ,,,bowling needs so much work ,,needs a good bowling coach

  • on December 31, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Almost every Indian Fans are blaming about our bowling, but to myself it's not the bowling that paid a lot to loose the series but the fielding & some bad umpiring did so !!!! Our bowlers did the so called tremendous effort, but the fielders except rahane made the whole devastation(just look into the dropped catches by ash,kohli,rohit,pujara,dhoni & some bad lbw withdrawals by umpire(eg.,for ab in I test). On the contrary, astonishing about the SA fielding(AB's acrobatic stuff and Faf's wrong handed catch in air) which's passed them to the #1. This does not show that they're world class fielders but shows their enthusiasm towards fielding and our laziness. This costed the life of some of our great bowlers like (bhajji,khan,srinath & so on). This is the saddest part of our team.

  • on December 31, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    I must say before the start of the series, I didn't expect Rahane to play the way he played. He was brilliant in field and also with the bat. Having said that, I felt that SA attack didn't test him enough. He has a weakness with the inswinging fill delivery which was exploited well by Steven Finn and co. in a ODI series at home against England which eventually cost him his place in the ODI side. I am suprised that SA didn't try and do that to him consistently enough to force an error.

  • on December 31, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    whats the problem with dhawan & rohit?being out in same type of delivaries is looking so odd & they have to make good impact if they want a settled place in test line-up

  • on December 31, 2013, 3:05 GMT

    well done rahane keep going

  • on December 31, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    this utter failure of dhoni's captain and batting

  • Rodc on December 31, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    well Rahane proves a point hear that a good talent cannot be put down for long now its time to find few good bowlers , a good spiner and opner.Dhawan was out of place in SA,so was Rohit may be its time to try the likes of Zol,baba and sarfaraz khan.

  • drallion on December 31, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Very well done Rahane! Time for India to go past the "glamour" boy "No-hit" Sharma, who can be picked only for domestic series and to give Kohlis, Pujaras and Rahane a break (one match break only). Sharma, despite the "huge" talent attributed by fellow Mumbaikar commentator Ravi Shastry, does not know where his off stump is! He still seems to be in the IPL mode imagining that he is another Viv Richards or Shahid Afridi - perhaps, more the latter!. Likewise, Zaheer should quit Test cricket. Umesh Yadav needs a break. Ishant can be given one more run as he bowled well in S.Africa.

  • on December 31, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    This tour has benefited India to a great extent. We have found replacements for Dravid in Pujara, Kohli in Tendulkar and Rehane in Laxman. If we can get a better substitute for Rohit (probably Rayadu) it will stand Indian batting in good stead. But the bowling! A lot of improvement is desired in this sector.

  • jimbond on December 31, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    Learnings from this? First class averages do make sense. It someone has a 60s average at first class level, it means they are good. Its make sense to give a longer run to players such as Pujara, Rahane (and Rohit Sharma), and also give chances to people like Badrinath and Juneja, all of whom have maintained this level of first class performance. This will motivate players to perform at the first class level. When freebies get given to poorer performers at the first class level like Raina, Karthik and Vijay, I am sure these players feel demotivated.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on December 31, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    yes, good player than rohit. No need to give 100 chances, he grabbed in 4 innings. Ashwin is ahead than rohit in test matches as a batsman outside sub.

  • Guduji71 on December 31, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    My analysis of the series is that India almost lost the first test I think SA should have gone for the win in the first test match and second test was won by SA almost by an innings. Ind lost both ODIs, badly. The results don't show that India did remarkably well. Good effort by Rahane, though.

  • KiwiRocker- on December 31, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    SA is a well deserved No.1 ranked team and they have shown character. Something that Indian players lacked. India has failed at first hurdle. Dhoni and Co are as usual trying to hige behind hollow rankings that mean nothing. Pakistan beat SA in a test match that India could not manage on batsmen friendly tracks. Pakistan even managed to beat SA in SA in an ODI series and Pakistan is not supposed to be top ranked team. ICC rankings are flawed and they make as much sense as claims that Tendulkar was better than Kallis. In current form, SA, Australia and Pakistan are three top ranked test and ODI teams. India and England are behind the top.3. Status and results show that. The claims that difference was Steyn are also misleading. Indeed Steyn destroyed much hyped Indian batting in ODi and test series, but real difference was how SA batsmen stood up in second inning of first test and first inning of second test. That was difference SA batting. India's bowling failed but so did batting!

  • KiwiRocker- on December 31, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    I am surprised and disappointed at the attitude of Indian players and even fans. Saying that India only lost 1-0 in a two test series is something not too bad displays a 'defeated mind set'. Also claiming that India is No.2 ranked team in world so all is good is non sense. The entire world knows that India's ranking is as hollow as Rohit Sharma's talent claims.India has not won a series in England, Australia, SA, Pakistan so how are they ranked No.2 is a well known fact ( too many home test matches). This series was first real test of India's over hyped batsmen and bowlers. BCCi picked their venues and pitches were not what teams like Pak and SA faced in SA.These were batsmen friendly pitches and despite that India was embarrassed in ODI's and also lost test series. Indeed, Kohli, Pujara and Rahane did well but thats not enough. They failed when it mattered. Overhyped flat track bullies like Sharma and Dhawan failed.Ashwin got dropped. Zaheer Khan the saviour could not even ball!CONT..

  • on December 31, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    @BigINDFan The previous lethargic Indian line up almost won the series in South Africa last time around. This Indian side lost it! Barring Dravid? Dravid averages a lowly 29 in South Africa, wiith just 1 hundred to his name. It was Sachin who scored 2 hundreds on the last tour and has a total 5 hundreds IN South Africa at an average of 46. Lethargic isn't it? ;)

  • on December 30, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Amazing poise and scores some fabulous runs against Styne. Seems we have got perfect replacements for Dravid, Sachin and Laxman in Pujara, Kohli, and Laxman respectively. Too early to write off Rohit, but Rahane deserve to bat up higher than Rohit.

  • cricmatters on December 30, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Boy did he show some fight or what? Previous generation of Indian Batsman would cower under hostile attack and walk back with their head down but this young man showed tremendous self-belief and courage. Rahane, you may have missed out on a century but your knock will be remembered for a long time as you dazzled like a bright ray of sunshine on a dark cloudy day. You can walk with your chin up Rahane as you demonstrated what true grit really means. Hope the same spirit rubs off on some of his teammates who think representing their country is just like playing another IPL game.

  • on December 30, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    Rahane had an average of 67 at one point and can also open the innings. Jiwanjot Singh of Punjab is also a future potential opener. If Rahane can open it opens up a spot for Manoj Tiwari who is a brilliant fielder as well. The future Test side

    Rahane Jiwanjot Singh Pujara Kohli Rohit Tiwari

    This has an average Domestic FC of about 55-60. The domestic FC use to be 50-55 earlier and the future will go up higher to be about 60. in the 2020s. The pair of Shami and Varun is the next opening pair. They both have pace of about 88mph and are more accurate than Ishant and Yadav.

    The best Off-spinner in the country is Mohnish Parmar in the mold of Muralitharan, His action was corrected and needs to train again and start playing FC domestic cricket. Parmar and Mishra pair are wicket takers if playing overseas since accurate bowling in India for the spinners does not help them overseas.

  • on December 30, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    I am a big fan of Rohit Sharma. The man has game. However I call for him to be dropped for NZ tour. As far as I am concerned he got 6 opportunities on this tour. Ambati Rayudu deserves a chance now. This will make him hungry.

  • on December 30, 2013, 23:06 GMT

    Ajinkya if you reading this, congratulations and thank you for your superb effort. Your performance on this tour and your 96 in the second innings at Durban will not be forgotten. You were denied so many chances to play for India but you had faith and self belief. Keep fighting.

  • Capricorn60 on December 30, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    Time for Rahane to move on to No. 5 in out test team for many years to come & a slot found for him in our ODI team too. Besides his impressive batting today, has shown to be a very good fielder too.

  • kbza86 on December 30, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    yes we are all sad that Kallis has left the scene(very sad)..but we always new this day would come and it finally has.I'm sure there are plans post retirement..ill support any decision BIffy and Domingo take..but here is my suggestion: 1.Petersen, 2.Biff 3.Faf/elgar 4.Amla 5.ABD 6. JPD 7.Mclaren 8.Peterson 9. Big Vern 10.Steyn 11.Mornas

    Simply because our strength has always been our seam and batting (ie:Donald, Pollock, Pollock, Pollock, Barry Richards, Eddie Barlow, fanie, goddard etc) we will always find another allrounder just a matter of time...just need someone to fill in till then...

  • Nampally on December 30, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    Rahane's innings was "like a refreshing Oasis in ordid Desert" on Day 5 of the Test match. It was like a lone ranger fighting it out to the last. After being left stranded without any partners in the first innings, Dhoni could at least have put him above out of form Rohit! But as is Dhoni's logic, he never changes the batting order or who he benches - logical or Not. Dhoni's "non logic" has hurt India more than any of the players performance. Dhoni says he did not want to be Santa by giving away runs when asked why he failed to take the new Ball! On Day 2 when SA resumed 82 for 1, the very first ball from Ishant Sharma was cut for 4- no third man for a fast bowler! Also Jadeja bowled to well set Kallis with a slip,Gully & a silly mid off! Kallis cut him for a 4 with no deep cover. He launched jadeja for 2 lofted 4's in 2 balls on the off with no deep fielder. Not taking new ball was a terrible decision - gave 148 runs to #7,8,9 bats + a 500 Total. If that is not Santa - what is?

  • on December 30, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    Axe Rohit and Dhawan. Karthik/Gambhir should open with Murali. Bring in a fast bowling allrounder at #7.

  • heathrf1974 on December 30, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Good to see Rahane do well. Like Pujara, it's good to see the quiet achievers do well.

  • on December 30, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    Rahane was good he should be batting at #5. Rohit Sharma - has to be dropped for form and his churlish behaviour with Pragyan Ojha when the indians were stretching and the cameras caught them fooling around with obscene gestures that only desis understand. For overseas tours, we need a fast bowling allrounder at #7. Dhawan needs to cool his heels behind Karthik or Gambhir. Zak may have played his last series for India.

  • mjshaheed on December 30, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    @IndCrab - Looking at your Team for future, I couldn't understand who the Captain would be and also it seems that you don't want any specialist spinner in the team whatsoever barring Jadeja who is a batting all-rounder. Well, I can clearly understand your cricketing acumen(sic).

  • ToTellUTheTruth on December 30, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Continued....

    I forgot Manoj Tiwary to add to Rayudu/Sharma equation. I really pray that MT can stay injury free and score tons of runs in atleast one domestic season. Dinesh Karthik/Parthiv Patel/Saha for WK. We have seen that Saha is cut out for tests. Hope Parthiv has worked on his WK skills. This team, with good fast bowlers and with Kohli as Captain, can only mean one thing...They will be super aggressive and imagine the quality of fielding.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on December 30, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    Dhoni did say he will take a call on his test career at the end of 2013. Well, that time is here. It would be interesting to see what he decides. Assuming he quits tests, and Kohli is made the captain (SA took a gamble on a 21 year old, and look where they are now), this will be a brilliant young Indian team. I was praying for Rahane and he came good. So, that settles #6. Now for #7 and WK slot, I do not think there is anyone good enough for tests than Saha!! Let's say Jiwanjyot is added to the mix as a 3rd opener to push both Vijay and Dhawan (mark my words, Dhawan will work on his game and will come back strong. After all, this is is his first overseas tour). Then we will have Rayudu/Sharma (I would like to bet on this bloke to come real freaking good in no time...I do believe!!!). So, batting wise India looks great from 1 thru 7. But then the bowling....hmph!!!! I think I am Sandeep Patil!!!! So many questions and so few answers.

  • S.Jagernath on December 30, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Ajinkya Rahane's talent & ability was clearly shown the moment he made his debut in that T20 in England.He unfortunately had to watch Suresh Raina & Yuvraj Singh get selected over him for a long,long time.Finally,he had his chance,in an unsual spot in tough conditions for Indians.He averages almost 70!Its quite shocking that he was overlooked for such a long time for rubbish batsmen.

  • IndTheBest on December 30, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    He is one of the future star should take #5 or open the inning. I think #6 should be filled by a fast bowling all rounder or our beloved Sehwag!

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 30, 2013, 19:40 GMT

    In Pujara, Kohli and Rahane, we have found Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman of this generation. All we need to do is find a good opening pair and a couple of big, strong pace bowlers. Pankaj Singh and Imtiaz Ahmed are 2 such bowlers playing in Ranji Trophy and doing quite well. Why not try them instead of mediocre Ishant Sharma and Mohit Sharma? Varun Aron is another good bowler, but he has a tendency to break down.

  • NewYorkCricket on December 30, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    Well done Rahane!! Keep it going.

  • Batmanindallas on December 30, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    I agree with Naveen Kumar-Time to move past Sharma and give Rayadu a chance. It is time India build a teams that bat out and in. You gain more respect when you can play abroad. I still believe Indian board should let many of the tier two bats like say a rayadu etc to play in 20 over games in SA and Australia if they get an opportunity

  • Marshal_Bouncer on December 30, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    For Some one who is waiting for an opportunity to play , Warming Bench for long time, a good oversees -series average is like an achievement. Rehane's technique and patience Would have inspired flat track superstars like Dhawan - Rohit. I rate his fifties as 100's -- and his 96 as a double Hundred in subcontinent conditions. Its good that indians lost this match. A realty check is very much required for a Young indian side- at this P.I.T.

  • MasterClass on December 30, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    Philander's send-off after bowling Rahane on the last ball of the over trying to get to his century (a chanceless magnificent effort under fire) with only Shami left, was actually funny considering he had just been straight driven for 4 and slapped for 6 earlier in the over. Philander-0, Rahane-1 in my scorebook!

  • VickGower on December 30, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Let me tell you, I had very little respect for Rahane. I very much doubted his heart and guts. Those two things greatly influence your technique in the real world. Well, Rahane proved something. Though I will say, Durban was probably as good an overseas place as any for a batsman to be facing Steyn. Another thing, none of this will matter -- the rising batting stars will be brought to naught -- if India doesn't conjure a bowling unit that can take 20 wickets.

  • IndCrab on December 30, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Team for the future: Vijay , Dinesh Karthik , Pujara , Kohli , Rahanne , Manoj Tiwary , Irfan , Jadeja , Varun Aaron , Umesh Yadav , Shami Ahmed. Reserves : Ishwar Pandey , Anwar Ahmed , Mandeep Singh , Rishi Dhawan , Shukla , Dhawan Shikar

  • pvr726 on December 30, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Rahane was surely impressive, no doubt. Not withstanding the defeat in the hands of a better team, the younger Indian team shows quite a promise.

  • BigINDFan on December 30, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Rahane is a great find. Ind batting is looking good and on the up unlike the aging lethargic batting from the previous senior team barring Dravid. The worry for Ind is the unimaginative captaincy from MSD and the lack of proper bowlers in the team. Ishant or Zak should go and the other youngsters should play more in Eng county or A tours in SA and Aus. The most important thing is to find quality spinners since Ashwin and Jadeja are not spinners they are allrounders probably.

  • MasterClass on December 30, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Hugely impressed with Rahane. An absolute gem! He looked not just comfortable but actually fluent scoring runs against a pumped up Steyn & Co.

  • on December 30, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    he deserved a chance ahead of Kohli n Rohit but better late than never...Pujara is claas act ...it gives India a strong middle order....

  • sarangsrk on December 30, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Rahane once again proved that he is a batsman of highest class. He has amazing timing, footwork and bat speed, all qualities of a class batsman. It was matter of when, and not if, he would be given a proper opportunity and he came good. Very unfortunate that he could not get 100 which he richly, richly deserved. As the author said, he could have got more in 1st innings as well if he had farmed strike more and not trusted zaheer so much. With so much talent and age on his side, I would think he would be another Indian in that category of 8000+ test runs at least.

  • on December 30, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    He is one for the future I wont be surprised if he takes No. 5 Position of Rohit Sharma and Perhaps allow Dhoni to Play an all rounder or Ambati Raydu at 6 , I think Raydu also deserve a chance as Rohit is looking to be a flat track bully however I hope he Proves me wrong in NZ.

  • on December 30, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    He is one for the future I wont be surprised if he takes No. 5 Position of Rohit Sharma and Perhaps allow Dhoni to Play an all rounder or Ambati Raydu at 6 , I think Raydu also deserve a chance as Rohit is looking to be a flat track bully however I hope he Proves me wrong in NZ.

  • sarangsrk on December 30, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Rahane once again proved that he is a batsman of highest class. He has amazing timing, footwork and bat speed, all qualities of a class batsman. It was matter of when, and not if, he would be given a proper opportunity and he came good. Very unfortunate that he could not get 100 which he richly, richly deserved. As the author said, he could have got more in 1st innings as well if he had farmed strike more and not trusted zaheer so much. With so much talent and age on his side, I would think he would be another Indian in that category of 8000+ test runs at least.

  • on December 30, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    he deserved a chance ahead of Kohli n Rohit but better late than never...Pujara is claas act ...it gives India a strong middle order....

  • MasterClass on December 30, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Hugely impressed with Rahane. An absolute gem! He looked not just comfortable but actually fluent scoring runs against a pumped up Steyn & Co.

  • BigINDFan on December 30, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Rahane is a great find. Ind batting is looking good and on the up unlike the aging lethargic batting from the previous senior team barring Dravid. The worry for Ind is the unimaginative captaincy from MSD and the lack of proper bowlers in the team. Ishant or Zak should go and the other youngsters should play more in Eng county or A tours in SA and Aus. The most important thing is to find quality spinners since Ashwin and Jadeja are not spinners they are allrounders probably.

  • pvr726 on December 30, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Rahane was surely impressive, no doubt. Not withstanding the defeat in the hands of a better team, the younger Indian team shows quite a promise.

  • IndCrab on December 30, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Team for the future: Vijay , Dinesh Karthik , Pujara , Kohli , Rahanne , Manoj Tiwary , Irfan , Jadeja , Varun Aaron , Umesh Yadav , Shami Ahmed. Reserves : Ishwar Pandey , Anwar Ahmed , Mandeep Singh , Rishi Dhawan , Shukla , Dhawan Shikar

  • VickGower on December 30, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Let me tell you, I had very little respect for Rahane. I very much doubted his heart and guts. Those two things greatly influence your technique in the real world. Well, Rahane proved something. Though I will say, Durban was probably as good an overseas place as any for a batsman to be facing Steyn. Another thing, none of this will matter -- the rising batting stars will be brought to naught -- if India doesn't conjure a bowling unit that can take 20 wickets.

  • MasterClass on December 30, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    Philander's send-off after bowling Rahane on the last ball of the over trying to get to his century (a chanceless magnificent effort under fire) with only Shami left, was actually funny considering he had just been straight driven for 4 and slapped for 6 earlier in the over. Philander-0, Rahane-1 in my scorebook!

  • Marshal_Bouncer on December 30, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    For Some one who is waiting for an opportunity to play , Warming Bench for long time, a good oversees -series average is like an achievement. Rehane's technique and patience Would have inspired flat track superstars like Dhawan - Rohit. I rate his fifties as 100's -- and his 96 as a double Hundred in subcontinent conditions. Its good that indians lost this match. A realty check is very much required for a Young indian side- at this P.I.T.