India cricketer Dinesh Karthik has credited head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Virat Kohli for backing Ajinkya Rahane, who has scored 40 not out against South Africa in Centurion before Stumps on Day 1. Karthik further added that he is pleased with Rahane's batting performance in the series opener.
India have locked horns with South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series, and the visitors started off well as they scored 272/3 before Stumps on Day 1 in Centurion. Mayank Agarwal scored a brilliant 60 off 123 balls, and stitched up a 117-run stand along with his fellow opener, KL Rahul. Lungi Ngidi, who scalped the wicket of Mayank, continued his good run struck in the very next ball to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara for a golden duck.
However, Rahul, stood solid at one end, and played a sensational knock of unbeaten 122 runs, while Ajinkya Rahane notched up 40 not out to guide India to 272/3 before Stumps.
The inclusion of Rahane ahead of Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari for the series opener against South Africa surprised fans and experts many as the former India vice-captain has been struggling with the bat in his recent outing. Rahane's inclusion in the playing XI for the Centurion Test, opened doors for fuming debates on social media as Iyer and Vihari were dropped despite their brilliant performance in the recent fixtures. However, Rahane scored a crucial 40 not out on Day 1, and partnered for an unbeaten 73-run stand along with centurion KL Rahul.
“Credit to Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli for backing him... I am happy for Rahane because he needs the runs but what I enjoyed more was the intent he showed. He was ready to play his shots that he was good at and that was good to see,” Karthik said on Cricbuzz.
Dinesh Karthik believes that Rahane's experience as a player has helped him to earn his spot in India's playing XI for the series opener. Karthik further added that he is happy with Rahane's intent against South Africa bowlers on Day 1.
"I believe that one of the other two could have probably got a chance. But having said that, I knew and I got a strong gut feeling that they will go with Rahane for two reasons. Firstly, he is an experienced player, he has been the vice-captain up until this series," he said.
"He is somebody who plays medium pace well, he has a pretty decent record in South Africa and whenever India has been under pressure, he's got the runs. When you are going in with six batters, I think they wanted to rely on experience because that's what Ajinkya Rahane brings to the table. I love the intent with which he bats,” Karthik added.