Team India is battling it out against New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Southampton. India were positioned at 182/5 when vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and left-handed batter Ravindra Jadeja were at the crease.
Rahane, bearing the onus of the recovery work after the fall of skipper Virat Kohli and wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, was stationed at 49 and about to make the first half-century of the contest.
However, Kiwi pacer Neil Wagner and captain Kane Williamson had other plans. Wagner pitched in a back off a length delivery which Rahane half-heartedly pulled and ended up giving a catch to square leg fielder Tom Latham.
Taking cognizance of the same, former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman pointed out that the Black Caps had ended Rahane’s time at the crease in a way similar to what they had done during the first innings of the Christchurch Test in 2020.
“This is something that has become a pattern with Ajinkya Rahane’s batting. It was the same game plan that New Zealand used against him in Christchurch. This is something he requires to understand,” Laxman told Star Sports at lunch on day three.
The 46-year-old further stated that there was no fielder at square leg or backward short-leg before that delivery, making Rahane play a hesitant pull.
“There was no fielder there on the fifth delivery, the one before he got out. And then a fielder was placed there and also near the backward short-leg. It forced Ajinkya Rahane to play a half-hearted pull shot. There was no conviction in that pull shot and this would be something Ajinkya Rahane will be disappointed with,” Laxman divulged.
The Hyderabad-born also enunciated the importance of ducking or defending back off a length ball. Else the opposition might take advantage of one’s attacking mindset.
“Because if the opposition comes to know that you are a compulsive pull shot or hook shot player, they will bowl a barrage of bouncers at you and have the field set to make you play that shot. And it is always going to be a low percentage shot,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, India were all bundled out for 217 runs in 92.1 overs. In response, New Zealand got off to a formidable start and punched 101/2 at the end of third day’s play.