Ajinkya Rahane was under the pump coming into the second Test against England after managing scores of 1 and 0 in the first Test. However, the right-hander responded with a crucial 67 in the first innings, and featured in a big partnership with Rohit Sharma (161), which gave India the upper hand in the Test.
Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an SK Live session on Facebook, Karthik admitted that Ajinkya Rahane may not be as consistent as Virat Kohli. But he added that the vice-captain’s value to the side is far beyond numbers. Karthik elaborated in this regard:
“Every team has certain players doing certain roles. There’s a Virat Kohli and a Cheteshwar Pujara, who have been extremely consistent over a period of time. And then, you get players like Ajinkya Rahane who haven’t been as consistent. But, what they do is, when the team is under the pump in tough conditions, when the ball is moving, they always find performances that help the country win. And that is always given a lot of weightage. He (Ajinkya Rahane) has played a lot of important knocks at difficult junctures for the Indian team. In most of the cases, the team has gone on to win.”
Karthik added that one must value such knocks more than a few knocks that don’t go one’s way. Speaking of the current Test, the wicketkeeper-batsman stated that Ajinkya Rahane’s knock and his partnership with Rohit Sharma was extremely crucial on a tough surface.
“Rohit Sharma got 161, but Ajinkya Rahane put up a partnership of a good number that put India in the driver’s seat. On a rank turner, to go out there with your captain and Pujara out…, you’ve got to give a lot of credit and value to these things. Knowing the Indian team, they value these knocks a lot,” said Karthik.
The 35-year-old observed that Team India don’t pay too much attention to critics, whose views keep oscillating. Karthik explained:
“The people who observe cricket are always very fickle-minded. For them, the people sitting out are always better than the ones who are playing. As players, you do not give that too much importance. A week ago they keep speaking that he (Ajinkya Rahane) should be the next captain. One week later, they are putting pressure on him as a player.”
Dinesh Karthik, most remembered for his exploits in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy final, rated Ajinkya Rahane’s hundred in Melbourne as one of the finest by an Indian player away from home. Narrating the backdrop against which the knock was conjured, Karthik said:
“When we entered the Test series, it was even-stevens considering the bowling attack we had. Steve Smith and David Warner were back for Australia (having missed the previous series). We got steamrolled for 36,and it was just an aberration. Their batting was struggling throughout the series. They only managed to get 250-odd in both the innings.”
Karthik continued in this regard:
“With Virat (Kohli), one of the world’s premier batsman leaving, I thought the team would suffer. But the other guys stood up, and made massive contributions. Ajinkya Rahane’s hundred in Melbourne was probably the most important innings an Indian has played abroad. That set the tone, and the belief for the rest of the team. Some special performances came about from then on.”
— DK (@DineshKarthik) February 15, 2021
Dinesh Karthik has played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs and 32 T20Is for India. He last played for the country in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, which India lost.