Great expectations for Rahul
India opener Lokesh Rahul stroked his third half-century in four innings against Australia on day three of the second Test but won’t be pleased at failing to go on to a big score.
That is the opinion of India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar who firmly believes that all players should bat for the team and not for personal landmarks.
Bangar spoke after day three where India fought back establishing a good lead of 126 by stumps and seizing the initiative for the first time in the series on a day that was marked by an unpredictable pitch and several strokes of good fortune for the hosts.
The coach said: “Generally within the batting group, over the last 18 to 20 months we have been so used to batting with five batsmen wherein all the batsmen have made that conscious effort to look beyond their personal landmarks.
“It’s not being happy with a 50 or 100 but batsmen who are wanting to go that extra mile, put in the hard work and play a big innings, which will have an eventual impact on the state of the match,” Bangar said at the end of day three.
“That is something all the boys have been doing. Rahul was very disappointed and we definitely had a chat. It’s something that we want him to improve in the games to come because he is a quality player.
“The way he was stroking the ball, really looked comfortable, was smothering the spin really well and I think he understands that probably in the series and matches to come, he will definitely put a price on his wicket and see less of those unforced errors.”
After a poor showing in the first Test the more fickle sections of the cricket media felt that Ajinkya Rahane was under pressure but Bangar rubbished those claims pointing to the vice-captain’s stellar track record at home and especially abroad.
Rahane was unbeaten on 40 by the close of play having put on 93 with Cheteshwar Pujara who struck a vital 79 not out.
He went on: “I am surprised we talk about him [Rahane] being under pressure,” Bangar said. “He has been the most impressive and utility player overseas, the kind of performances he has given in the last two to three years are worthy of applause.
“Outside India he averages more than 50 and here, when one says that he is not able to play that well, when we see the stats on the TV, his average in India is above 40 too.
“For a middle-order batsman it’s good. Whenever he has gotten an opportunity [he has done well].
“He was injured in the middle too. Before that he had scored 188 against New Zealand. On a difficult wicket against New Zealand in Kolkata he scored 77.
“Against Bangladesh he scored 82. He is a quality player. Today he applied himself well. [He] was part of a very crucial partnership today. We are just hoping that tomorrow he continues the same way.”
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