Laxman recalled Rahane’s overseas knocks in Lord’s and Melbourne, terming him an instrumental player for India’s overseas success.
The second cycle of the World Test Championship commences on August 4 in Nottingham as hosts England and India will kickstart their five-match Test series. India’s record in England inspires little confidence and the visitors would want to improve that with the added context of the WTC cycle.
India has a 20-man squad for the series, with four reserves, although Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan have been ruled out, while Mayank Agarwal suffered a concussion after being hit by a bouncer in the nets during the lead-up to the first Test. With a couple of top-order batters out of the mix, India is expected to slot in KL Rahul from the middle-order to the top.
India’s middle-order still boasts the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, who all have not had the best time in the longest format of late. While Pujara and Kohli are often considered as the most crucial cogs, India would certainly need their vice-captain Rahane to contribute as well. Ahead of the series, former Indian batter VVS Laxman backed Rahane to perform against England.
I still remember the way he batted at Lords or in Melbourne: VVS Laxman
Speaking exclusively on Star Sports’ show Game Plan, Laxman praised Ajinkya Rahane, “I think Ajinkya Rahane is a very important member of Team India’s batting line-up. I still remember the way he batted in overseas conditions at Lords or in Melbourne, also the way he batted in South Africa. He is instrumental for team India. Whenever he is out there in the middle, he scores run, he dominates the opposition’s bowling attack.
However, Laxman revealed an area of Rahane’s game that he feels needs some attention. “But one thing I feel Ajinkya Rahane must sort out is his game plan against short pitch deliveries. You saw that in the series against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final. It was the game plan of the opposition of the bowling line up to set up with a barrel of short pitch deliveries and, Ajinkya Rahane got only one option to make a pull shot.”
“But when you play at the highest level, you also must know which ball to play the pull shot and which ball to let go of. I think that is one area Ajinkya Rahane works on and, he has got a guarantee. I am sure he can perform.”