There were a lot many questions raised on Ajinkya Rahane‘s selection for the World Test Championship final. For a player who spent the better part of the last 18 months in absolute wilderness with world cricket devoid of any slightest information on Rahane’s plan, the selection did shock many and blamed the selectors for taking a call based on his staggering return in IPL 2023. But Rahane silenced his critics in style on Friday with a sensational knock of 89 runs in the World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval. And following the knock, he credited Chennai Super Kings in a million-dollar statement.
Rahane scripted an IPL season like no other and it was beyond the imagination of any ardent follower of the tournament. The veteran Indian was never regarded for his T20 abilities but MS Dhoni saw otherwise. CSK CEO Kasi Vishwanathan had revealed in an interview that Dhoni was adamant on getting Rahane onboard for the 2023 season and rest turned out to be a career-changing move for Rahane.
In 14 matches, Rahane scored 326 runs at a stunning strike rate of 172.49 with two fifties. While it played a big role in CSK’s march to a record-equalling fifth IPL title, it also saw Rahane fall in the radar for India selection for the WTC final.
Less than fortnight after lifting the trophy for CSK, Rahane proved the true reason behind his India selection. When the team was four down for just 71 runs chasing a colossal first-innings score from Australia, Rahane led the charge with his knock of 89 and later stitched a century stand with Shardul Thakur to deny India a follow-on.
After the knock on Day 3, former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh, on Star Sports, asked him, “Was there an influence of Chennai Super Kings in that knock?” Rahane replied saying: “Of course. I really enjoyed my stay at CSK.”
Later, former India head coach Ravi Shastri too credited Rahane’s IPL season with CSK for his improved comeback.
“He played domestic cricket, didn’t give up. Waited for his opportunity and I think, in many ways, this IPL has been a sort of liberation for him. It’s allowed him to come out of his comfort zone and play in the manner he has been playing now, freely. There are no cobwebs in the mind, all those have been cleared. He comes out and plays his natural game,” Shastri said.