Ajinkya Rahane reveals why Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and his average declined in Test cricket

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Hours after smashing a brilliant double century for Mumbai in the Elite Group B match against Hyderabad at the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Ajinkya Rahane said he is still hopeful of making a comeback to the national red-ball side.

Just two years ago, Rahane was the front face of Indian cricket after he led India to a historic 2-1 Test series win in Australia. But from thereon, Rahane’s poor patch arrived as he scored only three fifties in 13 Tests before losing his place in the India squad.

But in the ongoing domestic season, Rahane has given hints regarding the comeback of his form. Before his double ton in the Ranji Trophy yesterday, the Mumbaikar had also hit a double hundred in the Duleep Trophy while representing West Zone in the match against North Zone.

Rahane led the West Zone to the Duleep Trophy title and followed it up by assisting Mumbai to clinch their first-ever Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He was also Mumbai’s second-highest scorer in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 263 runs.

“One thing is for sure, I will never give up. For me, the dream is to still play for India,” said Rahane after scoring 204, laced with 26 fours and three sixes against Hyderabad, as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Rahane also spoke about how along with him, Virat Kohli‘s and Cheteshwar Pujara‘s forms declined in the longest format. He observed that the averages of those batting at No. 3, 4 and 5—Pujara, Kohli and himself—have gone down due to the kind of wickets prepared in India during that time.

Notably, till the 2020-21 Test series in Australia, Pujara had an average of 47.74, but since then, it has fallen to 31.17 in 16 matches that followed. Similarly, Kohli’s average was gone down to 28.74 from 53.41 in 16 matches, and Rahane’s average plummeted to just 20 from 42.58 in 13 Tests.

“If we look at the averages, they have gone down because of the wickets because, as a batter, it is always challenging. For openers, it is easy, especially in India, when the ball is hard. When batters get out, we always think about what mistakes they are committing. But then No. 3-4-5—Pujara, Virat and me… all of our averages have gone down. So, I don’t think I was committing any mistakes. Yes, as a player, I always focus on where to improve, but every time we don’t commit mistakes, sometimes the wickets are such… it’s not an excuse, but that’s the reality. Everyone was watching, so they know what kind of wickets were prepared in India,” added Rahane.

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