We're not bad players of spin: Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane dismisses concerns over Indian batsmen’s ability to tackle the turning ball after succumbing to spinners in the last one year

Several doubts were raised over the ability to tackle spin bowling after the Indian batsmen succumbed to the Sri Lankan spin duo of Rangana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal during the shocking defeat at Galle recently.

Rahul Dravid with Ajinkya Rahane during the launch of Aakash Chopra’s bookThe Insider at the Cricket Club of India yesterday. PIC/BIPIN KOKATE
Rahul Dravid with Ajinkya Rahane during the launch of Aakash Chopra’s book The Insider at the Cricket Club of India yesterday. Pic/ Bipin Kokate

Thanks to Herath’s seven wickets in the second innings and Kaushal’s fifer in the first outing of the Galle Test, India were again reminded of Moeen Ali and Nathan Lyon, and how they tormented the Indian batsmen during the last tours to England and Australia.

Once known to be the best players of spin, the current crop of Indian batters looked clueless.

‘Credit to SL spinners’
However, Ajinkya Rahane defended his teammates’ ability to handle spinners. “I don’t think we are playing spin bowling badly. In Sri Lanka, you have to give credit to their spinners. Herath and Kaushal bowled very well,” Rahane said during the launch of former India opener and mid-day columnist Aakash Chopra’s book The Insider at the Cricket Club of India yesterday. The book is a compilation of Chopra’s pieces for Cricinfo for whom he writes his The Insider column. The book — Chopra’s third in six years — is published by HarperCollins.

“We are not bad players of spin. Our intention against them (Sri Lankan spinners) was to see off their first spell, (see) what they are trying to do and then take them on. Our main motto in Sri Lanka was to score as quickly as possible and give ample time to our bowlers to pick 20 wickets. We are looking to improve against spin in the series against South Africa and I’m confident we will do well against their spinners,” added Rahane.

The Mumbai batsman said lack of partnerships in the first Test led to the Galle capitulation. “Dhawan got injured. We needed one decent partnership which would have made the difference. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Our approach was to play normal cricket and not get too defensive. We kept losing wickets regularly,”said Rahane.

Dravid wants Rahane to bat at No 5

Former India skipper Rahul Dravid was put in a spot by Aakash Chopra when he asked the India ‘A’ and U-19 coach about Ajinkya Rahane’s much-debated batting position.

After a long pause, Dravid said: “I think he (Rahane) would be a very good No 5 or even No 4 batsman in Tests. I am not saying he won’t be a good No 3 because he batted there, but (because of) the success he had at No 5, his ability to bat with the tail and the range of shots he has.

Also, his ability to play the second new ball makes him a very good No 5.” The Mumbai batsman was moved to No 3 during the second and third Tests against Sri Lanka recently. Rahane scored 4 and 126 in the second Test, but was dismissed in single digit during the final Test. “Obviously, he (Rahane) is required to bat at whatever position his team needs. But for me, No 5 is the position where he will probably do best in Tests,” said Dravid.

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