Ricky Ponting, who has worked with Rahane in the IPL, has opined the Indian team looked potentially better today under Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership on Day 1 of the second Test. He also lavishly praised Rahane’s individual plans to see the back of Steve Smith, Joe Burns and Cameron Green.
Virat Kohli’s return saw a lot of pundits predict the series a complete whitewash for Australia against India. However, on Day 1 at the MCG, it was far from that, with Ajinkya Rahane’s team putting on a masterclass performance in the field - especially with the ball as they restricted Australia to just 195 runs in their first innings.
In particular, with Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne putting on a dangerous partnership, Rahane’s swift bowling and fielding changes brought India back into the encounter and also propelled them to the top at the end of day’s play. Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, who had worked with Rahane in close quarters, opined that India looked potentially much better on Day 1 under Rahane’s leadership.
"Rahane's captaincy has been brilliant so far. We were all a bit worried about how they were going to pick themselves up after Adelaide. I think they looked potentially better today under Rahane's leadership. Rahane's field placements, bowling changes have all been pretty much spot on. With captaincy, making bowling changes, and changing the field, you need guys to be able to execute well," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
Ponting also noted Rahane’s swift work as a captain, crediting some of the dismissals as a mastermind of his.
"Some of the wickets they got today, even Smith at leg slip early on, I think that was a set plan. Joe Burns' dismissal would have been exactly how they wanted it. Cam Green was set up today as well Siraj bowled some really good outswingers to him then bowled an inswinger back down the line that trapped him in front. I think there's been a lot of planning that's gone into it and Rahane should take a lot of credit for that," added Ponting.
The former Australian skipper also recalled his memories with Rahane in the Delhi dressing room, as they reached the final for the first time in IPL history. While they eventually succumbed under the pressure against Mumbai, Ponting credited Rahane’s impact in the dressing room. He also pointed out that the Indian stars are behind Rahane, which was certainly seen on Day 1 of the second Test.
"We had him at Delhi this year (in the IPL). He's a very smart cricketer, he's a terrific bloke, works exceptionally hard on his own game but it just seems today the Indian boys have got right in behind him and they're working for each other which is always good to see."