Ajinkya Rahane is an Indian cricketer and the vice-captain of the India national Test team. The right-handed batsman also plays for the Indian Premiere League team Rajasthan Royals. He debuted on the international sphere riding on his exceptional performances in the domestic tournaments. However, he failed to utilize a number of opportunities during his early career, especially in limited-over games, which also reduced his chances in Test. Despite a delayed start, he has showed class as a Test batsman, In fact, he is already being hailed as the new Mr. Dependable and is expected to fill in the gap left in Indian cricket after Dravid's retirement. He has scored centuries in all formats of the game, even though his sole T20 century came in an IPL match rather than an international one.
Childhood & Early Life
Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane was born on June 6, 1988 in Ashwi KD, Ahmednagar district to Madhukar Baburao Rahane, a civil engineer who works at BEST, and Sujata Rahane. His family includes his younger brother Shashank and his younger sister Apurva.
When he was seven, his father had taken him to a cricket camp in Dombivli with a matting wicket, as they could not afford better. Unable to pay for auto ride every day, his mother used to take him there on foot while carrying his kit bag and his younger brother.
He got his Secondary School Certificate from SV Joshi High School in Dombivli. When he was called into the Indian Test team, he was in the third-year of his B.Com course.
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Ajinkya Rahane, who began training under former India batsman Pravin Amre when he was 17, scored two centuries during India U-19’s tour of New Zealand in early 2007. This helped in his selection for the Mohammad Nissar Trophy in Pakistan where he scored 143 in his debut first class match against Karachi Urban in September 2007.
During the 2007-08 season, he scored 172 against England Lions and subsequently made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai and helped the team win the title the following season with 1089 runs. He scored three centuries each for two consecutive seasons and surpassed 1000 runs during three seasons, with first-class top score of 265 not-out against Hyderabad in the 2009–10 season.
His 152 runs against Rajasthan in the 2011 Irani Trophy match contributed to his selection for India's Test squad. The same year, two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia earned him a place in the Indian ODI team for the tour of England in 2011.
Ajinkya Rahane made his international debut for India with a half-century in a T20 against England on August 31, 2011, followed by his ODI debut on September 3, 2011, against England during the NatWest Series. However, despite a good start, he failed to impress in the latter ODI and T20 series against West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England.
He was named in the Test squad against West Indies in November 2011, but due to poor performance in limited-over games, had to wait for 16 months before his debut. During this time, he watched seven of his teammates make their Test debut.
He finally got his Test cap against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on March 22, 2013, thanks to injured Shikhar Dhawan and sick Gautam Gambhir. Despite poor performance in that match, he was included in the team for India's tour of South Africa, which he finished as the third-highest run-getter for India, including a 96 off 157 balls.
On February 15, 2014, after India were down to 156-5 against New Zealand, Rahane took the team to a good score with his maiden test hundred, but Brendon McCullum's triple-century took the match away.
Rahane replaced Rohit Sharma in India’s tour of England in 2014, and again rescued his side from a 140-6 collapse with another century in the second Test match at Lord's Cricket Ground.
In ODIs, while he had managed to score his second fifty in 2013-14 Asia Cup, he struggled in the middle order and despite scoring two centuries at the top order, lost the position to Rohit. He failed to impress in the T20 World Cup and was subsequently dropped against the Bangladesh series, but was appointed captain for the second-order team for Zimbabwe ODI series, which India won by 3-0.
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He continued to impress in the Tests and scored 399 runs in four games, including one century and three fifties, in the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. During India’s Sri Lanka tour in 2015, he took a record-breaking 8 catches in the first match and scored a century in the second match to achieve career-best 20th rank in ICC Player Rankings.
He made another record in the 4th test match of the 2015 Freedom Series against South Africa when he scored hundreds in both innings of the match on a difficult pitch where most batsmen struggled. He stayed in form throughout the season and improved his ranking on the ICC Test Batsmen’s list to 8th in August 16, 2016.
After regular skipper Virat Kohli suffered injury in March 2017, he led the team as India's 33rd Test Captain and won the low-scoring match with contributions in both innings. Despite a century in Sri Lanka in August 2017, he scored a mere 17 in 5 innings in the return series and was dropped from the first two Tests against South Africa in 2018.
While Ajinkya Rahane was initially deemed unsuited for IPL T20 and got limited opportunity at his first team Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals (RR) mentor Rahul Dravid let him open, which changed his playing style entirely. He was the leading run-scorer for RR in 2012 with scores like a match-winning 98, an unbeaten 103 and 84 off 63 balls.
Awards & Achievements
Ajinkya Rahane was honored with the ‘Arjuna Award’ in 2016. He previously received the ‘M. A. Chidambaram Trophy for best Under-19 Cricketer’ in 2006-07 and was named ‘CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year’ in 2014-15.
He is the fifth Indian batsman to score centuries in each innings of a Test. He also holds the record for highest number of catches in a Test; he took 8 catches in a Test match against Sri Lanka
He was the first batsman to hit six fours in an over in IPL.
Personal Life & Legacy
Ajinkya Rahane got married to Radhika Dhopavkar on September 26, 2014, followed by a reception at the MCA attended by his friends and colleagues from the cricket fraternity. While it was an arranged marriage, they knew each other from their teenage days.
During his first visit to a cricket camp, Ajinkya Rahane was shown a black-and-white picture of Sachin Tendulkar by the owner, who asked if he wanted to play with him one day. His father was embarrassed to hear the 7-year-old say ‘yes’, but was extremely proud of him when he actually did so in 2011.