New Delhi: India's slip fielding has found a suitable candidate in Ajinkya Rahane who looks to be a safe bet in the position after impressing against Sri Lanka in the first Test match at Galle.
There has been a void in the slip region after the retirement of former India's most successful catcher Rahul Dravid and Rahane now seems to take on that responsibility well. Rahane still has a long way to go in becoming as consistent as Dravid but the signs he is showing is noteworthy.
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjerekar took to Twitter on Friday and acknowledged that Rahane could fill Dravid's shoes.
Really impressed with the way Ajinkya Rahane is catching in the slips. Can replicate Rahul Dravid in that area as well. #INDvSL
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) August 14, 2015
Rahane also set the world record on Friday by being the first non-keeper to take eight catches in a single Test. The middle-order batsman has latched on to eight catches so far in this Test match and his application on the field has been positive.
Rahane has been handed the responsibility of being the lone slip fielder against spinners which was Dravid's position during his time. Against the pacers Virat Kohli fancies him in the gully position which is so important in Tests.
Although in the first innings he started off with a straight forward catch off Dimuth Karunaratne who couldn't handle a short bouncer from Ishant Sharma, but after that he showed some neat skills in his catching. Ravichandran Ashwin got Thirimanne poke at a outgoing delivery and Rahane was smart at first slip taking a low catch towards his left.
Dinesh Chandimal's dismissal was next who ran down the track off Amit Mishra and offered a sharp catch at first slip and an alert Rahane was perfect at the task. In the second innings Varun Aaron dismissed Dhammika Prasad whose edge was taken cleanly by a diving Rahane at gully.
The best of the lot was off Kumar Sangakkara who played a loose shot of a turning ball from Ashwin and Rahane judged it perfectly and took an one-handed catch diving towards his left.
Rahane then took a stunner to dismiss Lahiru Thirimanne, who edged an Ashwin ball. Rahane had gone to his left but the ball kept very low on his right rather and he took an unbelievable catch.
His seventh catch was that of Jehan Mubarak who made a good looking 49. Harbhajan Singh tossed the ball up and Mubarak edged it straight to Rahane.
He then set the record by getting Rangana Herath who was dismissed by Amit Mishra.
Rahane's sharpness in slips and gully position is pleasing to the eye and there is a hint of trust in him to cater to the role perfectly assigned for him.