Ever since his impressive debut in the one-off T20 and ODI series in England last month, Ajinkya Rahane is clearly making a strong case for a Test spot.
Rising star: Ajinkya Rahane
The Mumbai top-order batsman, who replaced injured Virender Sehwag, scored two half-centuries � one in the T20 (61) and another in the five-match ODI series against England, tallying 219 on the tour. Earlier, he had impressed all with a couple of centuries during the India Emerging tour to Australia in August.
Recently, he even made the switch to the five-day format look easy. Runs have flown thick and fast from his blade in the ongoing Irani Cup clash against Rajasthan at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur. Rahane impressed one and all with some elegant copybook shots as he went about scoring a patient 152 to help Rest of India amass 663 in the first innings.
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar understands the importance of a good knock in the season-opening tourney. It was the Mumbai stalwart's century (110 against the likes of Madan Lal, E Prasanna and Bishan Singh Bedi) against Rest in the 1975 Irani Cup tie that got him picked for the tours of New Zealand and West Indies.
"Playing in the Irani Cup is itself prestigious. It's an important tournament for any player as it features the best cricketers of the country. So, doing well against them makes a huge impact," Vengsarkar told MiD DAY yesterday.
The former chairman of selectors reckoned Rahane is ready for Test cricket's challenges. "He should definitely be picked for the West Indies series (which will follow after England ODIs at home). In fact, he should have made his debut for India last year itself.
Ajinkya has been consistently scoring well in the domestic circuit... having piled on more than 4000 first-class runs in such a short span (2007-2011) is tremendous. It is disappointing that he is yet to make his Test debut despite regular openers failing. He is a great talent to have in the team. It's up to the selectors to assess and groom him for higher responsibilities," Vengsarkar said.