Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) Ajinkya Rahane is a very shrewd, calm leader and has a good understanding of the game, said India coach Ravi Shastri after his team defeated Australia by eight wickets in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
Shastri also termed Rahane’s first-innings knock of 112 as the turning point of the match.
“He is a very shrewd leader, he has a good understanding of the game and is a good reader of the game. I thought his calm composure out there in the middle helped the debutants — Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill — in the middle and helped the bowlers as well.
“There was a calming influence and inspite of losing Umesh, I thought we did a great job,” said Shastri.
The 58-year-old former India all-rounder compared Rahane to Kohli, saying that though both are good readers of the game they are different in nature.
“Both are good readers of the game. Virat is very passionate while Ajinkya on the other hand is very calm and composed. It is their characters… Virat is more in your face while Rahane is prepared to sit back in a very calm and composed manner but deep inside he knows what he wants,” Shastri said.
Shastri called Rahane’s knock as the one that turned the match in India’s favour.
“I think it was the innings of Ajinkya Rahane,” said Shastri when asked about the turning point of the match.
“The discipline he showed on such a big stage in such a massive arena, to come as captain of the team, bat at No. 4.
“When he went to bat we were two down for 60-odd and then to bat six hours on probably the toughest day to bat… because it was overcast all day, the sun never came out and he batted for six hours, unbelievable concentration. I thought that was the turning point. His innings was the turning point,” added Shastri.