Former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh has backed Ajinkya Rahane despite being his poor show in the ongoing five-match Test series against England. He even thinks the team management should back the batsman as wellness.
According to him, the only change that can be done is the inclusion of a spinner in place of the pacer Ishant Sharma. However, Rahane has managed only 95 runs in the first three Tests which came at an average of 19. He scored an important 61 in the second innings of the second Test at Lord’s.
Analysing Rahane woes, Maninder told ESPNCricinfo: “Ajinkya Rahane has been very tentative and I really don’t know why. His average abroad is much higher than his average on Indian pitches. He has always scored runs. I don’t know what’s gone wrong where. But I don’t see him getting dropped or anything. Can’t see any change as far as the batting line-up is concerned. The only place that I can see a change in the Indian side is, probably, Ishant Sharma might go out and they might get a spinner in or, maybe, Shardul Thakur. That’s the only change I can see going into the next Test match. Rahane is going to stay.”
He continued: “I think there is going to be a lot of talk. Ravi Shastri is a good motivator and he has motivated this Indian team really well. That is why, probably, if you see their record since he has become coach, it has been pretty good. I would be expecting Ravi Shastri to be a little over-active. Ajinkya Rahane has played 80-odd Test matches. But Shastri can’t think that he has played 80 Tests so he knows his job.”
“Sometimes even great players need to be motivated. You need to sit with them, maybe take him out for a dinner or something. You need to keep telling Rahane that he has done it before, he can do it again and that he has got to be in a positive frame of mind. That is one department where all coaches need to be proactive,” Maninder Singh concluded.
With the five-match Test series level at 1-1, both teams will now play the fourth Test at The Oval, starting September 2 as well.