Jubilant from series win in Australia, Ajinkya Rahane points out role of instinct in captaincy

Mayank Kumar

| Jan 26, 8:16 AM

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When Virat Kohli had left India after the humbling loss in Adelaide, Ajinkya Rahane had his task cut out to lead a side for which the humiliation in the first test could have been too tough to handle. But, Rahane showed the signs of an astute captain who helped his side walk away from that disaster as he led the bowling attack brilliantly on the first day of the Boxing Day Test that followed the first Test and in his words, it’s all about instinct and instant reading of the game situation that decides the course. 

In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, Rahane looked back on his captaincy in the MCG Test and why he brought out many moves that looked untoward at that point of time, but in the end, turned out to be fruitful for Team India.

He had introduced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin fairly early in the bowling and held back the debutant Mohammed Siraj till the lunch interval and he suggested that the decision was taken keeping in mind the moisture present on the pitch and that he backed his instinct that Ashwin will come good on the MCG pitch.

"I generally back my instincts; what I feel, what I think and how I read the situation. It is for people to say whether it comes naturally to me or not, but for me, I back my instincts and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But as a player, as a captain you have to back your gut feeling," Rahane said.

However, he had also prepared to take the reins from Virat Kohli after the first Test and he had started his process of leading the side in the two warm-up games preceding the Test series.

“It started from the two practice games. I was thinking of how I can use certain players, the bowlers, and what type of field I can set for them. It was all about using them well and giving them confidence. Identifying who is delivering in which situations, who is reacting differently in different situations. I was just observing that. When it came to Adelaide, Virat was the captain. So, I was taking a back seat. From Melbourne onwards, I knew what I had to do. I was clear in my head on what plans I had,” Rahane added.

Rahane led the Indian team which breached the fortress Gabba of the Australian team where the home side never faced defeat since 1988 and he termed the success as a special achievement.

“It feels really good. It has just started to sink in that what we did in Australia was really special. I am really proud of each and every member of the team. It's not about any individual, it’s a team effort. Everyone played their part pretty well. Credit to every member of the team for this victory,” Rahne added.

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