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Rahane the antagonist

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Ajinkya_Rahane_India_cricketThe Indian dressing room in Indore is named after Rahul Dravid. When I think of Dravid, the first thing that comes to my mind is defiance. The ability to defy all odds, the will to face the might of the opposition, and after a tough day at work, the power to stand tall. Dravid was truly the immovable wall. And when you sit in a dressing room named after him, his sheer abilities are going to possess you.

When Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli took centre stage at the Holkar Stadium, those Dravid-esque qualities were on display. While Virat looked calm and composed, just like Dravid after settling in, the struggling and defiant Rahane reminded us of Dravid's ability to stand at the crease when nothing was in his favour.

Ajinkya Rahane is a good player of short bowling. One of the few Indian batsmen who play the hook and the pull shot technically correct, and yet, there he was, struggling to get one right in Indore. Sometimes in cricket, it is more about mentality than it is about technicality. The Kiwis made an exceptional game plan once Rahane showed doubt in facing the short deliveries. Williamson placed five fielders on the leg-side, the bowlers went around the wicket and then the battle started. It was Rahane's will against the Kiwis short bowling skills.

The battle at Indore was unexpected. You wouldn't expect bowlers trying to bowl a bouncer every ball on a sub-continent pitch. That’s probably what caught Rahane off-guard. It is not every day that you walk out to bat in India and face the sweet chin music.

Rahane didn't have an answer to the bouncers. He tried to hook and pull, but the ball took the top edge of his bat. Twice he took the ball on his arm guard. My heart skipped a beat when he took one on the helmet. But, through all of this, he kept fighting back. He was standing there, ready to face the next ball.

Rahane's career has been one huge struggle. He was sitting on the bench for two years, serving water. A normal person would lose hope, but Rahane, he kept coming back. Much like his career, he had to fight for his century at the Holkar stadium. In fact, all his top innings were full of struggle. Sometimes he was the one facing the wrath of the bowlers and sometimes it was everyone else failing to stand alongside him. Whether in Australia or at Lord's, Rahane stood the test of time and overcame all odds to get those centuries.

When you look back in history, you'll find several great warriors who were small in size. The great Maratha warrior, Chatrapati Shivaji found himself in battles against men twice his size, and yet he conquered them all. Such is the calibre of Rahane. His determination is twice his size, which has helped him to succeed in tough situations.

Ajinkya Rahane is a warrior who will die fighting but will never give up. Cricket is a game in which mental strength is as important as technical skills and the Indian test vice-captain balances that better than anyone else. When everything will be said and done, Rahane will go down in the history books as an antagonist who never gave up.

 

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An IT engineer who finds solace in the Cricketing world. Cricket has been a major part of me while ...

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