"Pujara's, Virat's and mine averages came down"- Ajinkya Rahane blames Indian pitches for poor form of India's middle-order in Test cricket
Mumbai has started the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 with two comfortable wins over Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad. They beat Andhra Pradesh by nine wickets, but they thrashed Hyderabad by an inning and 217 runs.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane led his team with a brilliant double century in the second match. He made 204 runs off 261 balls with 26 fours and three sixes to help his team post a massive score of 651/6d, which was enough to dismiss Hyderabad twice to register a win by an inning.
Rahane spoke to the media after the game and expressed his desire to return to the Indian Test team soon. Notably, the 34-year-old led the Indian test side to the historic 2-1 Border-Gavaskar Series win two years ago in Australia.
However, after that, Rahana's poor form sidelined him from the Indian team's radar. He scored only three half-centuries in 13 tests after that. As a result, he was dropped from the test team. But the veteran is trying to make his comeback on the team.
Before the double century in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, he also smashed a double hundred for West Zone in the Duleep Trophy against North Zone. He captained the West Zone to lift the Duleep Trophy and then also led Mumbai to win their maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Rahane told the media that he will never give up on his dream of playing for India and that he still wants to serve the country. Furthermore, the 34-year-old also spoke on the reason for his, Virat Kohli's, and Cheteshwar Pujara's decline in form in red-ball cricket in the last few years.
He said, "If we look at the averages, they have gone down because of the wickets. For openers, it is easy, especially in India, when the ball is hard. But then No. 3-4-5—Pujara, Virat and me… all of our averages have gone down. Everyone was watching, so they know what kind of wickets were prepared in India."
After the 2020-21 Test series, the averages of India's nos. 3, 4, and 5 have dropped. Rahane's average slipped to 20 from 42.58 in 13 tests in this period, while Virat's and Pujara's averages came down to 28.74 and 31.17 from 53.41 and 47.74 in 16 tests, respectively.