Mumbai, Aug 3: Former India batsman VVS Laxman has praised India Test regular and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane for his ability to score runs on foreign soil. Rahane's performance has been instrumental in Team India's overseas success but the Mumbaikar hasn't been in the best of his form lately, and the opponents have exploited his struggle against short-pitched.
In the World Test Championship (WTC) Final between New Zealand and India, the Kiwi pacers pestered Rahane will a volley of short-pitched balls which proved to be a bane for the right-hand batsman from Mumbai.
While speaking on Star Sports' show Game Plan, Laxman hailed Rahane as an instrumental player for Team India on overseas tours. Rahane's match-winning centuries at Lord's (2014 tour of England) and Melbourne (2020-21 tour of Australia) will go down in the history as finest knocks by an Indian on foreign soil.
Speaking ahead of the opening Test of the five-match series between England and India, Laxman said. "I think Ajinkya Rahane is a very important member of Team India's batting line-up. I still remember the way he batted in overseas conditions at Lord's or in Melbourne, also the way he batted in South Africa. He is instrumental for team India. Whenever he is out there in the middle, he scores run, he dominates the opposition's bowling attack."
Laxman also lamented Rahane's struggles against short-pitched bowling has hurt him the most and believes the exceedingly talented middle-order batsman will have worked a lot in this department.
"...But one thing I feel Ajinkya Rahane must sort out is his game plan against short pitch deliveries. You saw that against New Zealand in the World Test Championship Final. It was the game plan of the opposition of the bowling line up to set up with a barrel of short pitch deliveries and, Ajinkya Rahane got only one option to make a pull shot. But when you play at the highest level, you also must know which ball to play the pull shot and which ball to let go of. I think that is one area Ajinkya Rahane works on and, he has got a guarantee. I am sure he can perform," Laxman - who is rated amongst India's finest middle-order batsmen - added further.
Rahane's average on foreign pitches has dipped in the last few years and that has put an extra burden on the shoulders of batsmen. Captain Virat Kohli would be hoping for a better show from his deputy in the upcoming series as Team India begins the campaign in the new WTC cycle.