IPL 2022: A Knight in shining armor, Rahane means business

Ahead of KKR's fixture against RCB, Knights' assistant coach Abhishek Nayar talks about the 'sessions' with Ajinkya Rahane and how he has been a thorough team-man.

Ajinkya Rahane

Kolkata Knight Riders' Ajinkya Rahane got off to a steady start in the IPL 2022 opener with a 44 against Chennai Super Kings.   -  Sportzpics

Ajinkya Rahane and Abhishek Nayar go back a long way. When Rahane broke into the Mumbai team in 2007, Nayar was already a seasoned campaigner. While the two shared a good rapport in their playing days, the bonding has only grown stronger over the years.

Rahane and Nayar have been re-united over the last few weeks - this time for the Indian Premier League (IPL). While Nayar is the assistant coach at Kolkata Knight Riders, Rahane was roped in by the franchise in last month’s auction.

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Being left out of India’s Test team for the series against Sri Lanka, Rahane is on a comeback mission and he got off to a steady start in the IPL opener with a 44 against Chennai Super Kings. Nayar was impressed with the way his old friend planned his innings and ahead of the Knights’ second game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, Nayar believes that Rahane’s experience is a big plus for the team.

“On the first day when we had a session with him, I was giving him catches. It felt so weird because not long ago we were playing together. It is always good to have Ajinkya in the set-up for the experience he brings in. Working with him was easy because it was like having conversations like we always did during the playing days. It’s just a continuation of that,” Nayar said on Tuesday.

“Having been a Test captain, he is someone who has leadership qualities. Also in the IPL, he has been a successful player. Just to have someone like that now partnering with Venkatesh Iyer is great,” he added.

Abhishek Nayar

KKR assistant coach Abhishek Nayar and the team's head coach Brendon McCullum at the DY Patil Stadium on Tuesday.   -  KKR


Despite being a successful captain, who guided India to the iconic Test series win in Australia last year, Rahane was left out for the Tests against Sri Lanka.

“Knowing Ajinkya, he has been someone who has never played to prove anything to people. He is someone who has played for the fact that he always enjoys playing this game. He plays it with the utmost desire to do well for his team. He is an absolute team-man, if there is one player who would stand out and you consider a proper team-man, that’s Ajinkya,” Nayar said.

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The KKR assistant coach believes that Rahane is not approaching the IPL to make a comeback to the national team, rather he aims to ensure success for KKR.

“In terms of a comeback, he’s always had that calibre. When he came back from the Test side, he scored a hundred in the first first-class game he played and followed it up with a 90. He is someone who has always got runs, he has been successful even in the IPL. I don’t think he is approaching the IPL in terms of making a comeback; he is approaching the IPL making sure KKR has the best chance of winning the championship,” Nayar said.

From being the most dependable batter in red-ball cricket to running out of favour - life has been tough for Rahane over the last couple of years. But after a promising start in the IPL, the India international certainly has lots to play for.

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