India's stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane led India to a historic Test series win in Australia in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, who was on paternity leave. After getting shot out for 36 within an hour on Day 3 at the Adelaide Oval in the first Test of the series, Rahane lifted up the spirits of a broken and injury-marred Indian side to outperform Australia on their home turf in the next three Tests. In the process of doing so, the Team India captain also breached Australia’s ‘Fortress’ which remained a burial ground for visitors from November 1988 up until India's historic win on the feared turf.
Rahane's astute leadership garnered widespread praise with a number of former cricketers, as well as, fans demanding the Mumbai-based cricketer to take over the reins of Indian Test team from Kohli. Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, recently in his column for The Indian Express, advised Kohli to step down from India's Test captaincy and hand it over to Rahane. According to Bedi, by doing so, Kohli can focus on his batting as any potential failure in his captaincy, which could end up affecting his individual performance.
Bedi further wrote that another ticklish thought that pops up in his mind is whether India need Virat Kohli the great batsman or Virat Kohli the 'mediocre' captain in the long run. The Indian veteran reckoned that destiny has provided the BCCI with an instant option and added that Rahane can lead in Tests while Kohli and Rohit Sharma can share the duties in ODIs and T20Is respectively.
Bedi opined that Kohli can offer to make an honourable way for Rahane to take over during the India vs England 2021 series at home. He assured that no bad blood would be caused when they ensure that the larger picture on the canvas is Indian cricket. Subsequently, Bedi went on to heap praise on Rahane's leadership and also said that the 32-year old's captaincy reminds him of one of India's greatest captains, the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.
Bedi wrote that he is floored with the way Rahane conjured magic from broken bodies around him. The former Indian bowler reckoned that the way Rahane handled his meagre resources reminds him of Tiger Pataudi, who was woefully short of a well-rounded unit but his leadership alone gave Indian cricket fresh legs throughout his captaincy tenure . Bedi further said that it was Pataudi who defined an ‘Indianness’ in the country's cricket and added that the legendary captain infused in them a thrilling sense of being together in this ride.
Bedi revealed that he observed Rahane pretty closely on the India vs Australia tour. According to Bedi, the hallmark of any captain is his ability to handle the bowling resources and the way Rahane managed his bowlers in Australia has made the Indian veteran his fan. Bedi reiterated that three Tests is good enough time to assess a captain’s bowling changes and fielding placements. Bedi added that he tried hard but couldn’t find a single Rahane move which could be questioned by armchair critics like him.
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