The Silent Assassin of the Indian cricket team Ajinkya Rahane, more than his off field flamboyance is recognized for his on-field heroics. Nicknamed ’Jinx’ he is a floater who can bat any position. With no big endorsements deals and controversies in personal life, this ‘Marathi Mulga’ rose through the ranks to become the vice-captain of Indian Test side.
Along with Tests, Ajinkya is also a vital member of the ODI and T20 side. Frequently, he is used as a floater (batsman who can play at any position) by the team management in coloured clothing.
“If you run after something, it runs further away from you,” Rahane says. “I have always believed that if you let something be, it will come to you slowly.”
Ajinkya Rahane – Early Life
Ajinkya Rahane was born to Madhukar Baburao Rahane and Sujata Rahane on 6th June 1988 in Ashwini village of Ahmednagar. He has a younger brother and sister – Shashank and Apurva.
Rahane did his schooling from SV Joshi High School in Dombivali, on the outskirts of Mumbai. He had interest in cricket from a very young age and since the age of 17 he started coaching at a small club in Dombivali. After some years Ajinkya got the opportunity to train under former Indian batsman Pravin Amre. As far as his personal life is concerned, Ajinkya Rahane is married to his childhood friend Radhika Dhopavkar.
The Making of Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane had performed well when India U-19 toured New Zealand in early 2007, with two centuries. The scores in New Zealand impressed the selectors and they picked him for the Mohammad Nissar Trophy in Pakistan.
FIRST CLASS CAREER – Ajinkya Rahane
Jinx made his first-class debut, at the age of 19, for Mumbai against Karachi Urban in the Mohammad Nissar Trophy in September 2007, at Karachi. Opening the innings with Sahil Kukreja, he scored a century on debut 143 (207). Rahane was subsequently picked for the Irani Trophy match against Rest of India.
With a contribution of 1089 runs in his second Ranji season (2008–09), Ajinkya was a crucial factor in Mumbai’s 38th title win. He continued to impress in domestic cricket. Ajinkya scored three centuries in each of the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons of the Ranji Trophy. His first-class top score of 265 not out (batting at no. 3 for Mumbai) came against Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in the 2009–10 seasons.
LIST A CAREER of Ajinkya Rahane
Jinx made his List A debut for Mumbai against Delhi for the Ranji One-day Trophy in March 2007. He contributed 61 runs to a 171-run partnership with former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer. Two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia ensured him a call up in the India ODI (One Day International) squad for the tour of England in 2011.
TEST CAREER of Ajinkya Rahane
Rahane made his debut in Test cricket on 22 March, 2013 against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi. Two single-digit scores in the game prompted many to question Rahane’s ability to handle pressure and replicate his domestic success at the international level.
Ajinkya made his first Test ton at Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand on 15 February, 2014 against New Zealand. India was in a difficult position when Rahane came to the crease at 156 for five and by the time he departed with 118 India were in a match-winning position ruined by Brendon McCullum‘s famous triple-century.
In the third Test match at Melbourne, Rahane made his third Test hundred. He made 399 runs in boundaries, including a century and three half-centuries. This was against the brutal pace attack of Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, the core of a bowling unit that famously won 2013–14 Ashes series 5–0.
In the first Test of 2015 tour of Sri Lanka, Ajinkya Rahane broke the world record for most catches in a Test match taking eight. In the second Test at PSS, Colombo, he scored his fourth Test hundred, scoring 126 in India’s second winnings, and India went on to win the match. In the process, he reached his career-best ranking of 20th, in the ICC Player Rankings.
Rahane was also a part of the 2015 Freedom Series against South Africa. In the 4th test match at New Delhi, Ajinkya Rahane made hundreds in both the innings on a pitch where most batsmen found it difficult to score. With this feat he became only the fifth Indian to join the elite club of twin centurions in a single test. On 16 August 2016, Rahane achieved his career best test batsmen’s ranking of No. 8.
ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL CAREER – Ajinkya Rahane
Two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia (2011) earned Ajinkya Rahane a place in the Indian limited-overs squad for the tour of England. He made his debut against England at Chester-le-Street as a replacement for opener Virender Sehwag.
Jinx did well in his maiden international series (2011 Natwest Series), against England in England, and in the return series. He made a 47 ball 54 on his second match of the latter tour. Ajinkya failed to impress in his next few limited over matches against West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England.
Ajinkya notched up his second ODI fifty in the 2013-14 Asia Cup. This was followed by another slump in the series. In a short ODI career, Rahane has seemed unsure and struggled at times. The balance between defence and attack is missing. He showed signs of comfort at the top of the order with rapid centuries against England (September 2014) and Sri Lanka (November 2014.
In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Rahane could only manage to score 208 runs, In 8 matches, his average was 34.66. He was dropped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the second ODI against Bangladesh. However, he was appointed as captain of India for the tour of Zimbabwe in 2015. This was a second string squad, as main players were rested. India won that ODI series 3–0. Rahane was not able to leave any big impact with the bat. He made total of 112 in three matches with just one fifty.
T20 CAREER of Ajinkya Rahane
The boy from Dombivli, made his international debut for India in a Twenty20 International against England at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester in August 2011. He scored a half-century in this match (61 of 49) against a balanced England attack of Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan.
A fun fact here is Jinx and his idol Rahul Dravid debuted in the same T20 match against England. This was the only international match of Rahul Dravid in Indian colours.
IPL CAREER of Ajinkya Rahane
The Mumbai lad has been a consistent player in IPL. He has played for teams like Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and last year (2017) he represented Rising Pune Supergiants. He holds the record of being the first Indian to hit six fours in an over. Rahane also has a century to his name in the format. Ajinkya Rahane is often compared to Rahul Dravid whom he considers as his mentor and has been quoted to have learnt from him while playing for Rajasthan Royals.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS for Ajinkya Rahane
- 5th Indian Batsman to score centuries in each innings of a Test
- On 15 August 2015, he broke the record of most catches in a test match. Jinx took 8 catches in the first test against Sri Lanka at Galle
- First batsman to hit six fours in an over in IPL (against S Arvind, RCB)
- Joint-record with 5 other players for highest number of catches in a T20 match
- M A Chidambaram Trophy for best Under-19 cricketer: 2006–07
- CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year: 2014–15
In May 2016, the BCCI recommended him for the Arjuna award.
Along with being a top class batsman, Ajinkya Rahane is also a very good fielder. He has good reflexes and anticipation. Has a calm and composed attitude. This makes him the ‘complete package’ as a fielder.
Sachin Tendulkar has described Ajinkya in his autobiography “Playing It My Way”. If Rahane continued to serve cricket the way he had always done, the game would take care of him in the future.