AHMEDABAD: Ajinkya Rahane‘s resurgence in the middle-order for CSK, coupled with his promising domestic form, has earned him a berth in the World Test Championship (WTC) final squad against Australia at the Oval. Rahane finished with 326 runs from 14 matches at an astounding strike rate of 172. 48 and was CSK’s fourth-highest run-getter.
Elaborating on the reasons behind Rahane’s resurgence, CSK head coach Stepehen Fleming said, “My understanding is that we got rid of the tag of being the guy you bat around or bat through.
“I think that may have hung over his head a little bit too much and didn’t allow him to be the player that he can be. And once that tag was gone, when I turned up halfway through the pre-season training, I saw a guy who was in magnificent form.
Elaborating on Rahane’s resurgence, Fleming added, “He wasn’t in our initial thoughts, but the game in Mumbai was really defining. It was one of our best wins in the tournament and he was the big catalyst behind it, so he cemented that No. 3 spot. He’s been unwavering the whole way through.
“He’s been nothing but positive this time. His nets have been very positive. Anytime he’s been caught on the boundary or out playing a big shot, we’ve just reinforced how good he’s playing. So a little bit of belief and just sheer ability- he’s been a wonderful player for us.”
The flexible use of Shivam Dube as an impact player, too has paid rich dividends. Dube ended up with 418 runs from 16 matches, and his two sixes off leg spinner Rashid Khan shifted momentum in the visitors’ favour just as the equation seemed to be getting out of hand.
On Dube’s elevation up in the batting order, Fleming said, “To bring Dube up and use him in an aggressive role took a few games. We were unsure but he played a defining innings against RCB where he really stamped his authority and from there, he was sort of a catalyst for us through those middle overs. With the ‘impact player’ that’s what was needed.”
The retiring Ambati Rayudu‘s 8-ball 19 too was pivotal to CSK getting closer to the target. Fleming said, “Ambati Rayudu is an absolute legend, I rate him so highly as a batter. He’s identified mentally and physically it’s his time to go. We’ve respected that. For him to go out like that was emotional for him and the group. I’m very pleased for him.”