Getting ready for work, I watched a few balls of the India-Bangladesh test match this morning.
Rahane was batting with Saha and it was obvious they were both looking to push the score along to try and declare. Rahane went to 94 with a boundary over mid-wicket, then swept the next one square to get to 98.
Next ball, he went back to pull, looking for his third boundary in a row. Bowled.
Out for 98.
He walked straight off. No exaggerated bat smashing, no theatrics. Just a polite wave of the bat to the crowd.
Bhogle was the on-air commentator. His comment was “remember this innings not for the 2 he didn’t score, but for the 98 that he did”.
If you look at Ajinkya Rahane, you will see a man who wants to score runs. Tough runs. Runs that win games.
Remember Matthew Hayden’s quote? If you want to see aggression, look into Rahul Dravid’s eyes.
Make no mistake. Despite his demeanour, Rahane is competitive in his own quiet, unassuming way.
I was lucky enough to witness Rahane score a fantastic first day hundred at Lords on a green, green pitch last year. Counter-attacking, match-defining innings.
He has been out in the 90s twice in test cricket to date. Both times, he has been playing for the team. Rahane is a team man.
Much like Dravid.
Rahane has also scored hundreds in England, Australia and New Zealand and a 96 in South Africa .
Pretty decent overseas player.
Much like Dravid.
When we were young, we had the choice of modelling ourselves on either the easy grace of the superlative Sachin Tendulkar or the visibly sweat-drenched work ethic of the down-to-earth Rahul Dravid (only the lefties tried to copy Saurav Ganguly).
Youngsters these days are probably more enamoured by Virat Kohli. Gelled hair, plucked eyebrows, Bollywood girlfriend, in your face, fist pumping, venom spewing aggression. And an excellent player to boot.
But I think there is something extremely likeable about Ajinkya Rahane. Doesn’t sledge bowlers or fielders. Doesn’t get into arguments with umpires. Doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. Doesn’t slag his team-mates off when he is run out.
These days, it’s almost old-fashioned to be Rahane.
But somewhere in India, a youngster is copying the Rahane straight drive rather than the wristy Virat cover drive.
Because just like we needed a Dravid for each Tendulkar, every maverick like Kohli needs a wingman like Rahane.
Ying and Yang.
A song of Ice and Fire.