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Ajinkya Rahane: India vs Australia: Ajinkya Rahane’s knock rattled the Aussies, says former selector Jatin Paranjpe | Cricket News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the second Test reminds former India national selector Jatin Paranjpe of Sachin Tendulkar’s prolific double against Tamil Nadu in the 1999-2000 Ranji Trophy semifinals.
Played at the Wankhede Stadium, the visitors – led by former all-rounder Robin Singh – had scored a massive 485 all out in the first innings after Mumbai won the toss and elected to field first.
Tendulkar got an astonishing 233 runs out of a total of 490 Mumbai scored, eventually helping his side win the contest by eight wickets.

It’s irony indeed that India too won the MCG Test by a similar margin, and Paranjpe – who was part of that semifinal win and scored an unbeaten half-century and the winning runs with Tendulkar batting alongside him – cannot help but draw a unique comparison.
“Ajinkya’s knock reminded me of that Tamil Nadu innings from Sachin, when he took us (Mumbai) through single-handedly. Tough players steer their teams through tough situations. You could feel he wants to see his team through,” says Paranjpe.
“It was a psychological battle and not an ordinary innings. He rattled the Aussies, and that coming after the Adelaide jolt made it even more special.”
The former Mumbai cricketer, captain and a Dadar Union cub – where his legendary father Vasu kaka stamped his authority and parted wisdom for decades – was always sold on Rahane’s batting.

The knock at MCG, right up there with the 103 at the Lord’ s in 2014, or perhaps higher, made Paranjpe fall in love with his city-mate all over again.
“The hundred was like a ‘life-lesson’ note to self. Stay committed, work your socks off at training every day, listen more than speak, be disciplined and believe in yourself,” Paranjpe had said after the hundred, underlining the credentials it takes to come up with something as special.
A selector for four years, Paranjpe has seen this young lot – one that conquered Australia in perhaps what is easily among India’s greatest moments in Test cricket – from very close quarters.

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Vihari was bit of child-prodigy for Hyderabad
Hanuma Vihari, for instance – the 27-year-old, who played a marathon 161-ball knock, batting more than four hours (alongside R Ashwin) to carve out a fascinating draw – is someone Paranjpe has known and tracked his game for close to 13 years now.
“I have known Vihari since 2007 when he was a bit of a child prodigy for Hyderabad. He then had to move to Andhra where he built a new life for himself. These changes take real tenacity. I saw him score against Mumbai at Ongole (in 2017-18 season), and I knew he was ready,” says Paranjpe.
“As soon as he played his first ball (at the SCG) and the camera zoomed into him, something told me ‘he won’t get out today’. Glad that turned out to be the case. He will get more chances to play for the country,” Paranjpe says.

Pant & Samson will drive fans crazy
Another batsman he’s always been enamoured with is the 23-year-old Rishabh Pant, whose 97 in the drawn Test at Sydney and the exemplary unbeaten 89 in the Brisbane win – both last-inning knocks – turned around India’s fortunes.
“He reminds me of Roy Fredericks. He’s got fast hands. He plays the ball off the pitch which is a hallmark of special talent. He has lots of time, never seen him perturbed by pace. He needs to build security in his defence and learn to step out not to hit it for six but to drive it for ones and twos’. If he adds this facet, game over for all the bowlers,” says Paranjpe.
Be it Pant or Sanju Samson, who couldn’t really make use of the white-ball opportunities received so far, “both had always been talents to pursue,” says Paranjpe, who until recently wore the selector’s hat.

“Sanju too is a treat to watch. Steady head, good technical foundations, doesn’t hold the bat low down and has a long lever which is rare to see nowadays. He will need to understand that he needs to play X amount of balls to score Y number of runs.
“He needs to work back to front from this angle. Both will do exceedingly well for India. Mark my words – they will drive fans crazy. Talent needs patience and trust,” he says.
Although, “purely on wicket-keeping talent”, says Paranjpe, Wriddhiman Saha would be his first-choice. “He undoubtedly has the best hands”.

Rahul at No. 5
Contrary to expectations, Karnataka batsman KL Rahul did not play the Tests in Australia. Later on the tour, despite spots being up for grabs, Rahul couldn’t make it because of an untimely injury. Paranjpe, nevertheless, sees two important aspects in Rahul – a) Future India captain, b) Number five batsman in red-ball cricket.
“I think KL will be an all-format India great over the next few years. He has the potential for captaincy and ability to bat in the middle-order in Tests,” he says.
That very slot, one Paranjpe’s referring to, went to Mayank Agarwal in the last Test, after he was called back to the side following an injury to Vihari.

Cricketers need Virat-like discipline
Coming from the proverbial old-school, a factor that worries Paranjpe more than anything else these days is the lifestyle that young cricketers lead, at times leading to lack of discipline.
“It’s obviously a concern. It disturbs me, and I hate to see players going down the wrong path. It’s tough nowadays, with big IPL salaries, to remain grounded. At the end of the day, the simple fact is your love for the game needs to be unshakeable,” says Pranjpe.
“Look at Virat, his love for the red-ball game makes him a disciple of discipline. He’s the benchmark cricketers all over the world need to follow.”

NCA has a lot to do
The former cricketer believes “the National Cricket Academy (NCA) is an evolving effort” and adds, “there’s a lot to do”.
“I feel there needs to be a more aggressive and widely distributed education and certification effort, which should be technology-led. India needs thousands of certified coaches. If I was anybody connected with the NCA, this would be the one area that could keep me awake at night,” says Paranjpe.



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