ANI Photo | “So glad he has made it”: Ravi Shastri backs Rahane’s inclusion in India team for WTC final

Former India head coach and all-rounder Ravi Shastri has lauded the selectors’ call to bring back veteran batter Ajinkya Rahane for the ICC World Test Championship Final against Australia in England, saying that the team needs experience for such big matches and people must have forgotten that he went through a lot of grind to earn his place in the national side once again.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on April 25 announced the squad for the ICC World Test Championship Final clash against Australia. Although most names in the squad list were expected, the selection of Ajinkya Rahane came as a surprise.
Rahane last featured in Tests for India in January 2022 and has since been out of favour in the red-ball setup. Before being dropped, Rahane had a horrendous 2021 where he scored just 479 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 20.82. His last Test century came at the MCG in the memorable Border-Gavaskar series of 2020/21 where he captained India’s comeback after the dismal 36 all out.
Injury to Shreyas Iyer meant that there was a void to be filled in the middle order and India have backed his experience for the one-off Ultimate Test
Ravi Shastri felt the selectors made the right call in bringing Rahane back.
“I am so glad he has made it to the side,” Shastri told ESPNcricinfo, according to ICC.
“He batted beautifully in these two-three games he’s played in the IPL, has looked in great touch. And let us not forget the experience he has. The moment Shreyas Iyer was injured, you had to look in that direction.”

“People think he has just played three IPL games and that’s why he’s in the side. They must have been on holiday for six months when he was playing first-class cricket. They must have been somewhere in the jungle where there’s no contact with anyone in the world. When you go six months into a holiday, you miss those 600 runs.”
His performances in the Indian Premier League so far as well as his domestic showings have paved the way for a comeback into the side. Playing for Chennai Super Kings, Rahane has been handed a new lease of life, scoring 224 runs in six matches at a stunning strike rate of 189.83. He has scored two half-centuries for the side so far.
Prior to the IPL, he went back to the drawing board in Ranji Trophy and returned 634 runs in seven matches for Mumbai, which included two centuries.
“Absolutely, it is a one-off big game, like the Super Bowl, and you need your experienced player,” Shastri added.
“Do not forget just two-and-a-half years ago, the man won a Test series in Australia. He was the captain when Virat [Kohli] went [on paternity leave] and did a sterling job.”
“People forget that hundred at the MCG, the way he played, and the fact that he has gone back to the grind. You saw what it did with Pujara, he went back to the grind playing domestic cricket, playing county cricket, just got the number of runs under his belt, then came back into Test cricket and performed. It is the same thing with Rahane, let us hope that experience comes handy.”
India will be hoping Ajinkya Rahane can set the stage on fire upon his return, given he looks to be going back straight into the XI for the World Test Championship Final from June 7 onwards. Having fallen short of the hurdle the previous time against New Zealand in 2021, Rohit Sharma and team will be keen to end India’s senior men’s ICC trophy drought with victory over Australia at the Oval. (ANI)

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