Aus vs Ind: Should Ajinkya Rahane be India’s Test captain?

It’s not often that we come across a captain who draws appreciation as a leader in his first Test match. In absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane led India fearlessly on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test match on Saturday and has hence been at the forefront of the hot topic – Should Rahane be India’s permanent Test captain?

With impeccable decisions on the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Rahane’s captaincy was appreciated not only by the Indians but also by the Australian pundits. Besides being aggressive in his approach, his on-point bowling changes and field placements worked wonders for the visitors on Day 1 as they tamed the dogged Australian batting line up to skittle them out on 195.

With excessive cricket in modern days, it is often rued that how much can a captain take? From leading in the ODIs, Tests, and in the shortest formats of the game, Kohli has done just to India’s brand of cricket post the MS Dhoni era. But it’s about time the Indian Cricket Board took some burden off the Great Kohli’s shoulders.

Rahane on Day 1 of the 2nd Test, attacked with close-in fielders and made some wise bowling changes that worked wonders for the team. Despite losing the toss, the skipper backed his bowlers and got the result. His tactics of placing putting a leg slip during the most part of Australia’s batting saw Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and the Australian captain Tim Paine getting caught there.

Such was India’s dominance throughout the day, the Adelaide shocker seemed a distant memory now. Rahane brought in Ashwin early into the captain as a fresh move which surprised many. But Ashwin returned with the key wicket of Wade when the latter was just freeing his arms.

The attacking slip cordon and his effective thinking to back the bowlers roped in praise from the likes of Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath.

“Rahane’s field placements, bowling changes have all been pretty much spot on. With captaincy, making bowling changes, and changing the field, you need guys to be able to execute well. Some of the wickets they got today, even Smith at leg slip early on, I think that was a set plan. Joe Burns’ dismissal would have been exactly how they wanted it. Cam Green was set up today as well – Siraj bowled some really good outswingers to him then bowled an inswinger back down the line that trapped him in front. I think there’s been a lot of planning that’s gone into it and Rahane should take a lot of credit for that,” Ponting said to cricket.com.au.

Glenn McGrath told Sony Six, “I thought Rahane did a good job. Backed his bowlers. He had four slips and a gully at one point. Once Smith came out, he kept the pressure by bringing back Bumrah. I thought his captaincy has been very good.”