Former India head coach Ravi Shastri put his complete support behind the selectors’ decision to include Ajinkya Rahane in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final squad and said that an experienced campaigner like him can prove valuable in an on-off encounter. India will take on Australia in the WTC Final at the Oval on June 7 and incidentally, Rahane’s last century came against Australia at Melbourne back in 2020 which proved crucial for his side. Shastri said that Rahane’s IPL form has been good but it is his domestic cricket form that catapulted him into the Test squad.
“I’m so glad he’s made it to the side. He batted beautifully in these two-three games he’s played in the IPL, has looked in great touch. And let’s not forget the experience he has. The moment Shreyas Iyer was injured, you had to look in that direction,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo in a recent interview.
“People think he’s just played three IPL games and that’s why he’s in the side. They must have been on holiday for six months when he was playing first-class cricket. They must’ve been somewhere in the jungle where there’s no contact with anyone in the world. When you go six months into a holiday, you miss those 600 runs,” the former Indian cricket team coach explained.
Rahane has been experienced a phenomenal run of form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 till now and he currently has one of the highest strike rates among all batters with more than 100 runs in the edition. Shastri lauded his return to form and even mentioned the century at the MCG.
“It’s a one-off big game, like the Super Bowl, and you need your experienced player,” Shastri said of Rahane’s inclusion. “Don’t forget just two-and-a-half years ago, the man won a Test series in Australia. He was the captain when Virat [Kohli] went [on paternity leave] and did a sterling job.”
“People forget that hundred at the MCG, the way he played, and the fact that he’s gone back to the grind. You saw what it did with Pujara, he went back to the grind playing domestic cricket, playing county cricket, just got the number of runs under his belt, then came back into Test cricket and performed. It’s the same thing with Rahane, let’s hope that experience comes handy.”
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