India skipper Virat Kohli has backed his Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane to come good during the forthcoming two-match Test series against West Indies.
Rahane has endured an inconsistent run in Tests in recent years, with his batting average descending from 34.62 in 2017 to 30.66 in 2018. In his last Test outing – the four-match Border-Gavaskar series in Australia – the 31-year-old scored 217 runs, averaging 31.
“‘Jinks’ [Rahane] has been a solid player for us through and through and that’s always been our communication. He is one of the most sorted guys. Really, really composed, reads the game well also, priceless fielder, we have all seen the impact he can make in Test cricket with his slip catching and everything,” Kohli said at the pre-departure press conference.
“I think under pressure he has performed really well. The guy averages 43 [40.55] in Test cricket, it’s not like he is in the early 30s. I don’t think we should jump the gun on someone like Jinks because he has done the job for you under pressure,” he stated.
Rahane has made 56 Test appearances for India and has 3,488 runs to his name including nine centuries and 17 fifties. However, the batsman’s last century came against Sri Lanka in August 2017 and since then, he has scored five fifties. The batter’s been among the runs, but has been inconsistent lately.
“It’s a patch that anyone can go through but I think he will come around because he is that good a player and when he does, we know he can be very consistent. He is one of the pillars of our batting order that we can bank on. Him and [Cheteshwar] Pujara, as I’ve said, have been our most solid Test players,” Kohli said.
“I am sure along with ‘Puji’ playing so well, myself at No.4, ‘Jinks’ will also come into the groove and once he starts scoring, he can spring in scores on a consistent basis. We are not at all worried about where he’s placed. It’s about giving him confidence and he really wants to turn it around. That’s the most important thing and that’s all that matters,” he added.
India are scheduled to play two Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies on August 3 and 4 in Florida before traveling to the Caribbean for three one-day internationals and two Tests.