With Virat Kohli not around, Ajinkya Rahane stepped up as the skipper and led India to a victory in Melbourne, a draw in Sydney, and then a decisive win in Brisbane to seal a 2-1 Test series win.
Ramiz Raja, the former Pakistan captain, lauded Ajinkya Rahane for guiding India to a historic 2-1 Test series win in Australia in the absence of captain Virat Kohli.
After India were demolished in the opening Test of the series in Adelaide, Rahane took over the reins from Kohli, who left Australia on paternity leave. The 32-year-old stepped up and led India to a victory in Melbourne, a draw in Sydney, and then a decisive win in Brisbane on January 19.
Raja lauded Kohli’s aggression along with Rahane’s calmness and also head-coach Ravi Shastri’s will to motivate players when the chips were down.
“I really like Virat Kohli because he has lifted everyone in the system and has provided some aggression. He has a lot of contributions to this team,” Raja said while speaking on YouTube channel Cricket Baaz with Waheed Khan.
“At the time, India needed Ajinkya Rahane because there was a need to bring calmness within the team after getting all out for 36. He really handled it well.”
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“I give the most credit to coach Ravi Shastri because brain trust comes under pressure after getting all out for 36. To lift up the team at that time, and when superstars are also not available, still creating an environment in the dressing room that we are not less than any teams, and then also explaining the situation to the players, is not easy,” he added.
After coming back from Down Under, India are now gearing up for four home Tests against England, starting from February 5. Raja believes India pose a strong threat to the Three Lions given their strong bench strength.
“The good thing is that India’s second and third-tier players have also stood up in Australia and they have won a second series Down Under. So, you can imagine their confidence level now with their main players back,” Raja said.
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