Leadership push caps show by 'invincible' Rahane

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 21 Jan 2021

Ajinkya Rahane's calm and composed leadership of India in their stunning Test triumph over Australia earned widespread praise Wednesday - and increased pressure on regular captain Virat Kohli ahead of a home series against England next month.

The Indian team have become national heroes for their 2-1 series victory in the dramatic finale in Brisbane on Tuesday, where no team had beaten Australia in 32 years.

Rahane, 32, took over from Kohli after India's humiliating opening loss in Adelaide where they were bowled out for 36 and masterminded a spectacular return against Tim Paine's Australians.

India chased down a target of 328 with 18 balls to spare on the fifth day of the final Test in Australia's "Fortress Gabba."

The Times of India daily hailed "Ajinkya The Invincible" for his unblemished record as skipper - four wins and one draw in five Tests substituting for Kohli.

Kohli, who returned to India last month for the birth of his daughter, was among the first to pay tribute to the team for their "grit" as they retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He will be back as captain when the first Test against England begins in Chennai on February 5. But there have been calls for Rahane to stay on.

"I think I would have really considered keeping Ajinkya Rahane as captain," said former England skipper Michael Vaughan.

Letting Kohli concentrate on batting "would make India even more dangerous," he added, praising Rahane's "incredible presence and tact."

"Let Ajinkya Rahane remain the captain for Tests and Virat Kohli for white ball games," said Vijay Lokapally, veteran journalist and a Kohli biographer.

"The team will benefit and Virat will concentrate on just smashing the opponents."

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