While currently India play Sri Lanka in a full-fledged series at home, most of the cricket fan fraternity seems to be talking about something else – India’s tour of South Africa at the end of the year. While a depleted Sri Lankan side is no match for the Indian team, it is common knowledge that South African pitches will not be a mission easy to accomplish for the visiting team. Virat Kohli and co. will have a couple of issues to address before the all-important tour, one of which is star batsman Ajinkya Rahane’s waning form.
Talking of the on-going series alone, the Test specialist has managed only 17 runs from three games, and all of that against a hapless Sri Lankan attack. The vice-captain’s poor average of 36.26 in Test cricket in 2017 is the worst for him in a calendar year.
However, the Mumbai batsman has been one of the most dependable batsman for India on foreign tours. The 29-year-old has great numbers in South Africa, Australia, West Indies and New Zealand. It is only in England that his numbers have been mediocre.
In Australia, Rahane has 399 runs from four matches including a century, at an average of 57.00. In West Indies, the batsman 243 runs from four games at an average of 121.50, including a century. In New Zealand, he has 162 runs from two games at an average of 54.00 including a century.
Now, talking about South Africa alone, Rahane has 209 runs from two games at an average of 96.66.
The aforementioned overseas numbers are perhaps what earned Rahane a ticket to South Africa, despite his recent poor form at home.
"His overseas record is phenomenal," Sanjay Bangar told media. "He is one of the few players who has scored in every overseas country we have toured. That shows the quality he possesses. And you know he is a quality player who has performed when the chips are down for the team. He will be hurting with the kind of dismissals he has had, and he is too good a player to not making runs for a long time."
However, with the lack of momentum that he has been able to build at home, against not-so-formidable bowling attacks, will it be easy for Rahane to bounce back on tougher conditions? Time will tell.