Melbourne, Dec 27 (IANS) Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane has pulled off “something special” in leading the team away from the debacle of the first Test against Australia to a commanding position in the Boxing Day Test.
“I think he’s done a great job to pick up the pieces from Adelaide with this team, lead really well in the field yesterday (Saturday) and you can see he’s playing like a captain now as well,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“He wants to play that captain’s knock; he wants to get a hundred in Virat’s (Kohli) absence and do the best thing he can to try and drag his country and his team back into this series.”
Rahane is filling in for Kohli as captain for the second, third and fourth Tests as the latter returned to India after the first match in Adelaide for the birth of his first child. India suffered an eight-wicket defeat in the day-night Test in Adelaide after being dismissed for 36 in the second innings, their lowest ever Test total.
The visitors, however, bounced back on the first day of the second Test to bowl out Australia for 195 and Rahane then led them to an 82-run lead on the second day with a masterful 104 off 200 balls. Ponting said that while Rahane’s captaincy during Day 1 was commendable, it should not put any pressure on Kohli’s credentials as captain of the team.
“Virat will be captain of India as long as he wants to, but if he thinks standing down is going to make him an even better player, then that’s a scary thing for world cricket,” Ponting said.
“I’m not doubting Kohli’s captaincy skills or credentials at all, I’m just saying it’s going to take something special to pick up the pieces and Rahane’s been able to do that so far. I don’t think there’ll be pressure from anywhere else for Kohli to do that but let’s wait and see.”