No Indian batsmen emerged out of the recent New Zealand tour with his reputation enhanced.
The conditions weren’t easy for batting, the New Zealand attack was relentless and the Indian batsmen found ways to shoot themselves in the foot time and again. At the end of the series, a disappointed skipper Virat Kohli admitted that his team had been outplayed.
It must have not been easy for Kohli to make that admission. He is a proud man, he has great confidence in the ability his team possesses and he would have expected better especially after the team started the series by beating the hosts 5-0 in the T20I leg.
But by the time the ODIs ended, New Zealand had recovered their poise. And then Trent Boult and Tim Southee got the ball talking in the Tests. The Indian batsmen, the Test specialists included, got worse as the tour wore on.
A lot has already been said about Virat Kohli’s slump and Cheteshwar Pujara’s lack on intent but the former chief of selectors, Sandeep Patil, feels Ajinkya Rahane’s over-cautious approach didn’t help the Indian team either.
In four innings, Rahane scored just 91 runs at an average of 21.50 and by the time the series ended, he had been mercilessly targetted by the short ball. A batsman as experienced as Rahane should have looked for a way out, instead, he pulled down the shutters.
Speaking to The Times of India, Patil said that a batsman decides to play slowly when he is afraid of failure.
“I heard about this (batting slowly) when he was playing for Mumbai this season,” said Patil. “This happens due to fear of failure. He has led India, he’s got a tremendous overseas record, but all that’s history. Now that he’s been labelled only as a Test player, been out of India’s limited-overs team, human nature is such that one wants to establish himself as a Test specialist. He’s trying to prove a point.”
Patil added: “By doing that, you try to show that ‘I’ll be technically correct. I’ll try to occupy the crease. If you want to just ‘occupy,’ you can call a security guard! Who’ll score the runs?”
Patil went on to clarify that he does not want Rahane to attack every ball but a more proactive approach from the batsman would help the team. At the same time, Patil also felt that coach Ravi Shastri and his staff also need to share responsibility for the approach adopted by the batsman.
“If Rahane isn’t understanding this, what are Shastri (chief coach), and the batting coach doing? If one batsman goes into a shell, the others follow, and the team suffers. Those who bat after such batsmen feel that the bowling is too good,” he said.