After yet another poor outing from Ajinkya Rahane, Maninder Singh has stressed on the importance of motivation a player needs, and called for Ravi Shastri to help out the India vice-captain. The 56-year old however, believes that Rahane will keep his place for the fourth Test at The Oval.
Ajinkya Rahane has endured a rather poor run in the ongoing India-England series, with just 95 runs from five innings. His 61 in the second innings at Lord’s and 67 against the same opposition in Chennai earlier this year, were two outlier significant contributions across 10 Tests since his match-winning hundred in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Maninder Singh, the former India off-spinner, stated that Rahane might be in a desperate need of motivation, as even the greatest of players do, and singled out head-coach Ravi Shastri as the ideal personnel to serve the purpose.
"I think there is going to be a lot of talk. Ravi Shastri is a good motivator and he has motivated this Indian team really well,” Maninder told ESPNcricinfo. “That is why, probably, if you see their record since he has become coach, it has been pretty good.
"I would be expecting Ravi Shastri to be a little over-active. Ajinkya Rahane has played 80-odd Test matches. But Shastri can't think that he has played 80 Tests so he knows his job.
"Sometimes, even great players need to be motivated. You need to sit with them, maybe take him out for dinner or something. You need to keep telling Rahane that he has done it before, he can do it again, and that he has got to be in a positive frame of mind. That is one department where all coaches need to be proactive."
Rahane followed his 61 at Lord’s with scores of 18 and 10 at Headingley, and has seemingly looked uncertain in his approach throughout the series. While Maninder raised concerns over the visible lack of form, he believed that the right-hander will keep his place in the fourth Test at The Oval.
"Ajinkya Rahane has been very tentative and I really don’t know why,” wondered Maninder, who represented India in 35 Tests and 59 ODIs. “His average abroad is much higher than his average on Indian pitches. He has always scored runs. I don't know what's gone wrong. But I don’t see him getting dropped or anything. Can’t see any change as far as the batting line-up is concerned.
"The only place that I can see a change in the Indian side is, probably, Ishant Sharma might go out and they might get a spinner in or, maybe, Shardul Thakur. That's the only change I can see going into the next Test match. Rahane is going to stay."