India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane has a great sense of where his fielders should be, said India batting great Sunil Gavaskar after the first day of the second Test against Australia here on Saturday.
Gavaskar, a former India captain, said that he has made the observation from the few Test matches that Rahane has captained in before the second Test started at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
“From what I have seen in the last two Tests he captained and the one-day matches he captained, he has got a great sense of where the fielders should be kept. Having said that, it’s very important for the bowlers to bowl to their field. If the bowler’s bowl to the field, as they did today, then the captain looks very good,” he said.
Gavaskar said that it is a combination of Rahane’s captaincy and the Indian bowlers’ efforts that India is in a good position in the match. The visitors dismissed Australia for 195 in the first innings.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged three wickets for 35, including Steve Smith for a duck. He has now dismissed Smith cheaply on both occasions they have faced each other.
“It’s important for India to look beyond the fact that it’s only Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy. It’s the way Ashwin bowled, it’s the way Bumrah bowled, it’s the way Siraj made his debut. I mean imagine, being a new-ball bowler, and you don’t get to bowl a single delivery before the second session. Only in the second session, you get to bowl in the 27th over but he showed great spirit in the way he came and bowled,” Gavaskar observed.
“These are the things we should enjoy. It tells you a lot about this Indian team that they were at the Australians and they got the early wicket. If they hadn’t got the early wicket, if Australia had gotten to a 60 or 70 for zero kinds of start, then their body language might have been different.”
Gavaskar also joked that he doesn’t want to praise Rahane too quickly considering the Mumbai connection between the two.
“Importantly, let’s not jump to conclusions too quickly. If I say that his captaincy is outstanding, then again, I will be accused of backing a Mumbai boy and all kinds of things will happen. So, I don’t want to get into that because these are early days,” he said.