Ind tour of Zim: The curious case of Ajinkya Rahane

Selectors appoint Rahane, who was dropped from the playing XI in the last series against Bangladesh, to lead India in Zimbabwe ODIs

A few eyebrows would have been raised after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to appoint Ajinkya Rahane as the skipper for the limited overs tour to Zimbabwe in July.

Also Read: Ajinkya Rahane is India's captain for Zimbabwe tour; Pujara named skipper of India 'A'

Ajinkya Rahane. Pic/Getty Images
Ajinkya Rahane. Pic/Getty Images 

Sandeep Patil's selection committee virtually picked a second-string team for the three ODIs and two T20 Internationals, resting several senior players like ODI skipper MS Dhoni, Test captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Umesh Yadav when they met in New Delhi to pick the team yesterday.

Rahane's elevation to the captaincy is a curious case. It is understandable that the selectors are looking to groom a new leader who could be their option for the future but Rahane's appointment was a bit surprising. It was bizarre as Rahane, who was dropped from the playing XI in the last series against Bangladesh, will now lead the pack in India's next assignment.

Also Read: Zimbabwe series another exam, I'm studying hard to excel: Harbhajan

Chairman of selectors Patil justified the decision to give Rahane the reins. "We are happy with the way Rahane's career is shaping up. He has been the most consistent batsman for India and we want to see his other aspects. So, we have given him this opportunity and will keep backing him," Patil told reporters in New Delhi.

After playing 55 ODIs, skipper Dhoni decided to drop Rahane from the playing XI in the last two matches against Bangladesh recently and suggested that the Mumbai batsman has a problem on slow pitches.

What Dhoni said...
Dhoni opined: "He needs pace. We have seen that he plays a lot better on pitches that have some pace. But on a slow pitch, whenever he has batted at No 4 or 5, he does have a problem in freely rotating the strike at the start of his innings.

I think Ajinkya will have to wait." Rahane had scored nine in the first match against Bangladesh at Mirpur on June 18 before going out of favour. In Zimbabwe, Rahane will have to guide the second-string Indian team from avoiding another series loss to another minnow team.

Meanwhile, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar reacted to the news of Rahane's captaincy by saying, "I feel very happy for Ajinkya. He is a sincere and hardworking cricketer. I have always been impressed with his commitment and dedication. I am sure he will give his best and give us a reason to be proud of him. I wish him all the best."

ODI and T20I team

Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Lokesh Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Naman Ojha, Vijay Shankar, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Shardul Thakur, Varun Aaron, Abhimanyu Mithun, Umesh Yadav, Shreyas Gopal, Baba Aparajith

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