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Ajinkya Rahane's apparent moment of madness


Sachin Tendulkar has just been dismissed. India are 3 wickets down. They still need around 20 runs to win the match and the series 4-0. In walks Ajinkya Rahane. After playing out 4 balls, Rahane goes for the big shot. He waltzes down the track and manages to provide Nathan Lyon another moment of glory in an innings Lyon is already dominating. Lyon takes the catch easily and Rahane curses his luck.

This was Ajinkya Rahane's moment of madness. So it would seem on the face of it.

Rahane has been roaming with Team India for quite a long time. 16 Test matches. He has seen players come in and debut ahead of him. Mentally, this gets very frustrating. One might begin to question the will to keep travelling with the team without being given a chance. He was also in form when he was selected. The constant preterition that he faced ended in the fourth Test. He finally got his chance.

Though Cheteshwar Pujara made it seem like one, the wicket wasn't an ideal debut wicket. After opening in T20s and ODIs, Rahane would have considered himself as a potential candidate for one of the top 4 spots in the Test team. Unfortunately, as he has been acclimatised to people going in before him, Kohli walked out before him. After that, the man who has made number 4 his burial site, too made Rahane wait for his turn. When finally he got his opportunity, he couldn't make much of an impact. He then, along with an entire nation, questioned his belief in destiny as Ravindra Jadeja scored a surprising 43. Trudging along that path, he perhaps began to question his ability as well.

As these thoughts crept into his subconscious, short leg, silly point and other such fielding positions made his conscious being weary. He watched the ball bounce, stay low, turn square and complete his nightmarish sequence with the resounding thought of 'batsmen beware.'

It was then India's turn to bat, in pursuit of a rather small target. A number 5 batsman always hopes he doesn't get to bat while chasing small targets. However, what Ajinkya Rahane hopes, at this point in time, is likely to come true only if he can get a Genie excited enough by rubbing his lamp.

He walked in to bat. At one end, he had been watching a calm and composed Cheteshwar Pujara make batting look easy. At the other end, he saw wickets tumbling. The target was nigh. A spinner was bowling. He defended the first ball from Glen Maxwell. The second delivery was a full toss. He played a cover drive which unfortunately hit silly point and remained a verbal four. The next ball, caught the inside edge and almost went on to the stumps.

The thought process : Okay! I can't get out like this. Mid-on is up. I'll just go down the track and loft it over his head. I believe in my ability. It's not that hard.

That's what he did. Unfortunately, he didn't reach the pitch of the ball. The ball gripped and turned. Rahane was early into the shot and dragged it to deep mid-wicket. It may have been inexperience or it may have been a culmination of all the factors before the shot. Doesn't matter. What does matter, is whether or not Rahane is given another chance, because he should.

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