NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Ajinkya Rahane has been a conspicuous absentee from the ongoing Indian runfest against Sri Lanka but the middle order batsman appears to have the backing of the team management ahead of the tour of South Africa later this month.
The 29-year-old right-hander has been the lone player in India’s top six without a fifty in the three-test series against a Sri Lankan attack which has leaked many runs.
Rahane blew another opportunity on Saturday, getting stumped off Sri Lanka left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan for one even as India amassed 371-4 with skipper Virat Kohli and opener Murali Vijay making big centuries.
“He would be disappointed with the manner he got out. He’s somebody who works very hard on his game,” batting coach Sanjay Bangar told reporters after the opening day’s play at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
“Last match and this match, his shot selections would be hurting him definitely. But he is a quality player and his overseas record is phenomenal. He has the ability to bounce back very quickly.”
The Mumbai player has now managed seven runs in his last four innings against Sri Lanka whereas Kohli (three), Vijay (two), Cheteshwar Pujara (one) and Rohit Sharma (one) have helped themselves to centuries.
Bangar pointed out Rahane’s impressive record abroad where the batsman has registered six of his nine hundreds, the last coming in Sri Lanka in August.
“He’s scored a century in every country we’ve toured (in recent times), that speaks of his quality,” Bangar said.
“He’s performed when chips were down. He’d be hurting with his dismissals but he’s too good a player to not making runs for a long time.”
India will embark on a tour of South Africa later this month to play three tests, six one-dayers and three Twenty20 Internationals.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty,; editing by Ed Osmond