Former India cricketer VVS Laxman is not impressed with Ajinkya Rahane’s obsession with the pull shot that led to the vice-captain being dismissed one short of a half-century on Day 3 of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand here.
Just when Rahane had started to look threatening, he was dismissed for 49 by Neil Wagner. He didn’t commit fully to the pull and ended up playing a short-arm jab, and spooned the catch to Tom Latham at square-leg, leaving India tottering on 182/6.
“I thought that Ajinkya Rahane was getting his eye in. He was batting much better. He looked more assured on the crease as compared to yesterday [Saturday]. But this is something that has become a pattern with Rahane’s batting. It was the same game plan that New Zealand used against him in Christchurch. This is something he requires to understand,” said Laxman.
“You talked about the planning between Neil Wagner and Kane Williamson. There was no fielder there on the fifth delivery, the one before he got out. And then a fielder was placed there and also near the backward short-leg. It forced Rahane to play the half-hearted pull short. There was no conviction in that pull short and this would be something Rahane will be disappointed with,” Laxman told STAR Sports.
Praising the “perfect execution” of the field by captain Williamson for Rahane, Laxman added that, sooner or later, the opposition understands the batsman’s favourite shot and works to negate it.
“[It’s] because if the opposition comes to know that you are a compulsive pull shot or hook shot player, they will bowl a barrage of bouncers at you and have the field set to make you play that shot. And it is always going to be a low percentage shot,” he added.
Laxman advised Rahane to be cautious when the ball is pitched in the “corridor of uncertainty”.
“Number one is you know where your off stump is, you know how to play the ball when it is pitched in the corridor of uncertainty. And you also should know how to leave or defend the bouncers.”