Jinks breaks through

SP

When Ajinkya Rahane added 96 runs for the opening wicket with Gautam Gambhir, there were a few firsts. For an entire year, 2012, India's opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gambhir put together just two stands of 50-plus. And for most of that time, Rahane was a part of the ODI squad but was never assured of a place in the side.

Friday's stand was the highest for the first wicket in more than a year for India. Also, it marked the first time in recent memory, Rahane knew that he would be getting a run of games in the side. Until the squad was announced for the first three ODIs against England, where Rahane replaced Sehwag, the Mumbai batsman has either been on water duty or got to fill in only in case of injury. In Sri Lanka in 2012, he played a stray ODI after Sehwag had to rush home due to a back injury. From then on, he saw little action.

Now however, things seem to be turning for the better for Rahane. Around the turn of the year, Rahane has got to play four T20 games, two each against England and Pakistan. He then played the third ODI against Pakistan and now, he is set to play the three ODIs against England. It would also be a comforting factor for Rahane that this run comes against England, an opponent he is rather familiar with. Out of the 13 ODI's played by Rahane so far, ten times his appearance has come against England.

Rahane scored 42 and 28 in the two T20s against Pakistan while he made only four runs in the dead rubber in Delhi. However, during the 47 in the first ODI against England, he looked in good touch and says he wants to carry forward the momentum.

... contd.

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