Eng vs Ind: Ajinkya Rahane's form not a concern at this point, says Vikram Rathour

New Delhi, India Updated: Sep 06, 2021, 08:52 AM IST
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On Day 4 of The Oval Test versus England, Ajinkya Rahane fell for no score but batting coach Vikram Rathour continued to defend the vice-captain.

India batting coach Vikram Rathour has said that the stage has not come yet where the team management starts worrying about the form of Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane has been battling severe criticism for his form off late and in the second innings of the ongoing Test, the vice-captain was dismissed for a duck by pacer Chris Woakes

"Not at this point. As I said earlier also, when you are playing cricket for a long time, you will have phases where you will not get runs. That is the time when we need to support the player as a team. As we saw with Pujara also, he has played a couple of important innings for us. We are hoping Ajinkya will get back into form and still play a major role in the Indian team`s batting. I do not think we have arrived at that point where Rahane`s form should become a concern," said Rathour during a virtual press conference after the end of Day Four of the ongoing fourth Test.

"When you are playing such an important series like this one, playing in the conditions which are tough for batting and we are playing against such a disciplined bowling attack, which has been bowling so well, so as a batting unit, the technique is the last thing you should be thinking about. I do not think we are looking at technique right now, there is time to look for it, I do not think mid-series or mid-game is the time for that," he added.

Earlier, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, and Shardul Thakur all registered scores of more than 50 as India set a target of 368 for England on Day 4 of the ongoing fourth Test here at the Kennington Oval on Sunday. Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah also played cameos of 25 and 24 as India posted a score of 466 in the second innings, extending the lead to 367. For England, Chris Woakes returned with three wickets.

"Very impressive. As you said earlier, we all knew Shardul could bat, he is somebody who works really hard on his batting and I think the biggest asset is his temperament. I think the confidence he carries in his batting, the body language he has, very impressive. He is just in his fourth or fifth Test match and he has already played three important innings. That tells you he has the ability and he can play a big role in Indian cricket in the coming times," said Rathour while replying to an ANI query.

Just half an hour before the start of play on Day 4, the BCCI said that its Medical Team isolated Ravi Shastri, head coach, Bharat Arun, bowling coach, R. Sridhar, fielding coach, and Nitin Patel, physiotherapist, as a precautionary measure after Shastri`s lateral flow test returned positive on Saturday evening. The remaining members of the Team India contingent underwent two Lateral Flow Tests -- one on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval against England." Of course, we are missing Ravi Shastri Bhai massively. Ravi Bhai, Bharat Arun, and R Sridhar have been an extremely important part of this setup, they have done well in the past five-six years and they have played a major role in the team doing well. This is what it is, they are not here. In the morning, it was a bit of a distraction, we had a word and we decided we need to focus on the cricket. We are here for this series, and I think the boys did well to not get distracted. There was a potential we could have been distracted, the credit needs to go to the boys for the way they handled themselves," said Rathour.

"Ravi Bhai felt ill on Saturday night around 8 PM. He was having a little bit of discomfort yesterday, the medical team decided to go for a lateral flow test and it came out positive and that is when we all found that he is positive. The close contacts were identified and isolated so we will wait for the medical team to tell us when they can join back," he added. At stumps on Day 4, England`s score read 77/0-- still needing 291 runs for the win with all ten wickets in hand. For the hosts, Burns (31*) and Hameed (43*) are at the crease."

Ravindra Jadeja will play a massive role on the final day I think. Fifth-day wicket, there is rough on the wicket for the left-handers on the offside so he will play a massive role, I think he bowled with a lot of control in the last five-six overs he bowled. So yes, he is going to be playing a very important role but to pick ten wickets, everybody will have to chip in. I think medium pacers will also need to chip in," said Rathour.