MELBOURNE: Ajinkya Rahane is brave, smart, calm and has the respect of his team, former Australia skipper Ian Chappell has said while praising India's stand-in Test captain.
India registered an emphatic eight-wicket win over Australia in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series, days after suffering a humiliating loss at the Adelaide when the team got bundled out for mere 36 at the Adelaide Oval.
The win in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was also remarkable considering India were without their talismanic batsman Virat Kohli and ace pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami.
Before the MCG Test, Rahane had led India twice and had registered wins on both the occasions.
"It was no surprise that Ajinkya Rahane captained India flawlessly at the MCG; anyone who saw him in charge in Dharamsala in 2017 would have recognised a man born to lead cricket teams," Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNcricinfo.
"There were a lot of similarities between that 2017 match and the one at the MCG. Firstly it was between the same two highly competitive rivals, then there was the valuable first-innings lower-order contribution from Ravindra Jadeja, and finally Rahane aggressively accumulating the required runs in a nervy pursuit of a moderate victory total," Chappell wrote.
Rahane scored a brilliant century in the first innings of the MCG Test and then scored unbeaten 27 as India chased down the 70-run target with eight wickets in hand.
"...That's part of Rahane's success as a skipper: he's brave and smart. However, there's much more to his leadership than just those two important qualities. He is calm when things could easily get out of hand," Chappell said.
"He has earned the respect of his team-mates, one of the most important aspects of good captaincy. And he gets runs when they are needed, which adds to the respect his team has for him," he added.
The 77-year-old, who played 75 Tests for Australia, further said India knew that one man couldn't replicate the "supreme deeds" of Kohli and it was going to take an extra effort from all concerned to overcome his absence. IANS