Ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia in London, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar backed Ajinkya Rahane who is returning to the Indian side after 18-19 months. India will take on Australia in the final of the ICC World Test Championship at The Oval from June 7 onwards.
Speaking exclusively on Star Sports, Manjrekar talked about the mindset that Ajinkya Rahane will bring to the table during the ICC World Test Championship Final, “He (Rahane) was under tremendous pressure the last time when he was playing for India. It’s a tough time when a batter goes into bat, thinking that this could be the last innings of his Test career. That is a difficult place to be in. I don’t think he will be in that place now as he has seen life after Test cricket, almost like a retired cricketer. Now, he has got the opportunity, I feel his mind will be a lot freer. People might think his IPL form has contributed to his selection and comeback.”
Rahane last featured in Tests for India in January 2022 and has since been out of favour in the red-ball setup. Before being dropped, Rahane had a horrendous 2021 where he scored just 479 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 20.82. His last Test century came at the MCG in the memorable Border-Gavaskar series of 2020/21 where he captained India’s comeback after the dismal 36 all out. In the Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Rahane has scored 634 runs in 11 innings at an average of 57.64. he had also clinched two centuries in that season.
Manjrekar also said, “But he had a good first-class season as well. So, we might see some benefit there. I have been there. I have been dropped from the Indian team. I have got loads of runs at the first-class level but when you come back to Test cricket, you realize that it’s a completely different ball game. So, Ajinkya Rahane will have a freer mind, but he will have his work cut out as well. Test cricket is a different ball game and he is playing against a top-notch opposition. I have no idea how he is going to bat. There’s some indication that he’s back in form, but it is a completely different scenario.”