Cricket News Ajinkya Rahane and the under-appreciation of scrapping through in tough situations

first_img New Delhi: Ajinkya Rahane was under pressure before he came out to bat in the Antigua Test. The Mumbai right-hander had not scored a Test century since the SSC Test against Sri Lanka in 2017. In the last two years, his averages have been 34.62 and 30.66. Even in the warm-up game, Rahane’s performances raised questions and he was at the crossroads of his career. In Antigua, West Indies had ripped out Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli. With the new Dukes Ball and on an Antigua pitch assisting the likes of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder, it was tough going.When Rahane had managed just one run off 30 balls, there was a sense that he was getting bogged down and it would only be a matter of time before he was dismissed for another cheap score. At that point in time, Rahane decided to hang in and scrap rather than counterattack and fall cheaply. In the process of consuming 30 balls for one run, Rahane ensured that the early assistance for the bowlers from the wicket would go away. With the new ball losing its shine, it would be a bit easy for stroke-making. The nature of the wicket at North Sound did not allow flmaboyant strokeplay. It is in this broader picture that the 68-run and 82-run stand with KL Rahul and Hanuma Vihari which helped India stage a revival.As Test matches go, there are still four days remaining. However, in the context of the conditions, Rahane’s knock has great value and has once again brought to the fore the art of scrapping through in a tough situation. It is this greatly under-appreciated art which has helped India win Test matches overseas in the recent past. Rewind to Melbourne 2018. On a pitch which had some early assistance, Hanuma Vihari consumed 66 balls for eight runs. The statistics, at first sight, will tell you that it was a struggle for Vihari. What the statistics do not reveal is that Vihari and Mayank Agarwal consumed 18.5 overs and negated the threat of the new ball. In Australia, the blueprint for success for overseas batsmen was to survive the new Kookaburra on a fresh pitch. Vihari’s eight was valuable as it allowed Agarwal to notch up his maiden fifty, Pujara his second ton in Australia and Kohli to score 82. It was this weathering of the new ball which was a significant factor in India winning in Melbourne. One has to go back even further to Johannesburg 2018. Pujara, who was in wretched form heading into the match, took over 50 balls to get off the mark. The right-hander managed 50 runs off 179 balls. In terms of strike-rate, it was a disaster. In terms of batting fluency, it missed the mark. But, Test cricket demands application and scrapping on a tough wicket and the Wanderers was a difficult deck for batsmen on that day. Pujara and Kohli, along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar were the only players to get into double figures as India managed 187. Pujara’s knock allowed Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar to bowl with their tail up and India managed a consolation win in Johannesburg. The wins in Johannesburg and Melbourne highlighted the value of a hard scrap for batsmen in Tests, which is never visually appealing but vital to a team’s fortune. After the end of the day, Rahane’s comment that he was not sad on missing his century adds more weight that a solid, gritty fifty is more valuable when it comes to determining the team’s fortunes. One has to just look at the broader conditions and situation to determine whether the knock is worth it’s weight in gold. highlights Ajinkya Rahane has not scored a Test century since 2017.India last lost a Test series in the West Indies in 2002.Ajinkya Rahane scored his 18th fifty in Tests.center_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Pair of Washington teams visits Galen

first_imgWith a 19-3 record and accomplishments from veterans and rookies alike, the No. 7 USC women’s volleyball team has not had to deal with much adversity this season. Coach Mick Haley’s club has made quick work of its opponents, having recorded sweeps in 14 of their 19 wins.Growing up · Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio (left) has been named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week four times this season. – Sean Roth | Daily TrojanRegardless, the Women of Troy will use this weekend as a measuring tool for their season as they face the No. 5 Huskies on Friday and Washington State on Saturday at the Galen Center.While the Cougars have struggled and remain winless in Pac-12 competition, the Huskies have fought neck-and-neck with the Women of Troy, having established a 19-2 overall record that includes a 3-0 sweep of USC  when the Women of Troy made their trip to Washington on Sept. 28.“Our confidence right now is exactly where it needs to be,” senior opposite Katie Fuller said. “After the loss to Stanford we came into practice and challenged ourselves. We not only focused on attacking what we think are our strong points, but also the strong points of our opponents, and that’s what we need to do this weekend against the Washington teams.”Following a disappointing 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Cardinal on Oct. 10, the Women of Troy responded immediately with a sweep of Cal  on Oct. 12 before dominant home victories over Utah and Colorado last weekend. The weekend featured more strong performances from freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio, who notched an astounding 11 aces to power the Women of Troy service attack. She also added 18 kills between the matches and nabbed her fourth Freshman of the Week honors to add to her quickly expanding list of accolades.While Bricio has carried the team on her back, Haley is quick to point out the need to keep things in perspective, especially with teams gunning to take down USC.“We took both of these teams out with our serving this weekend,” Haley said. “That’s important. But you have to assess how the serving will be against a different team or in a foreign facility. Bricio’s been knocking down aces and we have a combination of different serves we can use, but on the road it’s difficult. Even Bricio is having trouble focusing on the road, just because she’s had to do so much as a freshman.”While the likes of Fuller, junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard and junior libero Natalie Hagglund have consistently performed well for the team, Haley used the Colorado match to experiment with his younger players, particularly freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms and freshman setter Cinnamon Sary, and stressed the need to give them more playing time.“Cinnamon is going to be really good, there’s no question,” Haley said. “If she can provide a little more spark, we have a chance to win the national championship. She wants to contribute, so there’s no sense in holding her back, and the team’s comfortable with her in the lineup.”As the team gears up to battle the Huskies and avenge last month’s loss, Haley stressed the need to focus on the specifics of Washington’s attack.“We run first tempo, while Washington runs 1.5 tempo in the middle,” Haley said. “They run quicker outside while we run quicker in the middle. The tempos are different but we need to keep improving and become comfortable with our system. Everyone’s feeling like they’re getting better and their focus is high, so we’re in good shape.”last_img read more