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Ajinkya Rahane: The new-age Rahul Dravid continues to shatter records

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 11:48 IST

Ajinkya Rahane, on 6 December, registered his name in the record books after smashing his second consecutive hundred in the ongoing fourth Test between India and South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

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While breaking his home jinx in a spectacular fashion, the Mumbai batsman remained unbeaten at 100 off 206 balls after skipper Virat Kohli decided to declare the innings. With a second innings hundred decorated with eight boundaries and three sixes, Rahane also became only the fifth Indian batsman to score two centuries in a Test match. Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Kohli are the other Indian batsmen who have achieved the feat.

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It was also the first time when a batsman had scored hundreds in the two innings during a Test match at Kotla. It was only the seventh instance in Tests in India where a batsman had scored a century in each innings.

Earlier in the first innings, Rahane had scored his fifth Test hundred to guide India to a commendable position on the second day of the inconsequential Test. The right-hander, who also recorded his maiden hundred at home, played a gritty knock of 127 runs off 215, achieving the distinction of being the first player from either side to have reached a three-figure mark in the low-scoring series so far.

The right-hander's knock was studded with 11 fours and five sixes. Coming in to bat with India reeling at 66/3, Rahane negated South Africa's bowling challenge efficiently while wickets kept tumbling at the other end.

Rahane added 59 runs alongside Ravindra Jadeja (24) for the seventh wicket and then went on to add another 98 runs off 193 balls with Ravichandran Ashwin (56) - who completed his sixth half-century in the longest format. It was also the highest stand for any wicket among either teams in the series so far.

For a man who has been lurking in the shadows of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Rahane has once again proved that when it comes bailing India out in a crisis situation, he is the perfect man for the job.

Here's a look at the lesser known facts about the new-age Rahul Dravid of Indian cricket:

Early life
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Ajinkya Rahane was born on 6 June, 1988 in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra to Madhukar Baburao Rahane and Sujata Rahane in a Maratha family. He has a younger brother Shashank and a younger sister Apurva.

Rahane began playing cricket at the tender age of even when his father took him to a small coaching camp with a matting wicket in Dombivli (Thane), as they could not afford professional coaching. However, when Rahane turned 17, he started his tutelage under former India batsman Pravin Amre.

India U-19 stint
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Ajinkya Rahane made significant contributions to India's U-19 side, notably in early 2007 when he scored two hundreds during their tour to New Zealand. The tour also boasted future international stars including Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Ishant Sharma, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Ravindra Jadeja.

Following his success on the overseas tour, Rahane was picked for the Mohammad Nissar Trophy in Pakistan without playing a single match in first-class cricket.

First-class debut
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At the age of 19, Ajinkya Rahane made a sensational first-class debut for Mumbai in the Mohammad Nissar Trophy. The right-hander smashed a blistering 143 and registered a crucial hundred on debut. His performance earned him a spot in Mumbai's playing XI for the Irani Trophy clash against Rest if India.

He made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai in the 2007-08 season. And in the same year he smashed 172 for the West Zone during the 2007-08 Duleep Trophy against an England Lions attack comprising Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Steve Kirby and Liam Plunkett.

Ranji Trophy heroics
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In his second Ranji season (2008-09), Rahane continued to impress the selectors with his bat and amassed 1,089 runs, a crucial factor in Mumbai's 38th title win. The fact that only 11 players have scored 1,000 runs in a single Ranji season, clearly puts his effort in perspective.

His fine showing in the domestic circuit continued in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 Ranji season where the Mumbai batsman smashed three hundreds in each season. Rahane also recorded his top score in first-class cricket after scoring an unbeaten 265 against Hyderabad in the 2009-10 season.

Test career
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After scoring over 1,000 runs thrice in his five seasons for Mumbai, a Test call-up became inevitable for Rahane. He was named in the Test squad for India against the West Indies in 2011. However, despite being carried in the squad for 16 months, Rahane was not handed a debut until 2013 when he was picked against Australia during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

In what turned out to be a forgetful debut, Rahane was dismissed for 7 and 1 in the two innings at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. However, the Mumbai batsman made a strong statement during the 2013-14 South African tour, amassing 209 runs at an average of 69.66 in the series (including the crucial 157-ball 96 at Durban).

On 15 February 2014, Rahane notched up his maiden Test hundred after he scored a pivotal 118 against New Zealand in Wellington. He scored his second hundred during India's tour of England in 2014 during the second Test. In the process, Rahane also became only the fourth Indian batsman (after Sourav Ganguly, Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Agarkar) to score a Test hundred on his first appearance at Lord's.

Rahane was also impressive during the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, where he scored 399 runs in four Tests including a hundred and three fifties.

Unique world record
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During India's tour of Sri Lanka in 2015, Ajinkya Rahane recorded a unique feat after taking a whopping eight catches in the 1st Test. By doing so, Rahane also created a world record of taking most number of catches in a Test match.

Married to childhood friend
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Ajinkya Rahane tied the knot with his childhood friend Radhika Dhopavkar in a Maharashtrian style wedding on 26 September, 2014. The couple knew each other since a very long time and ultimately decided to marry each other.

She did her graduation from Vinayak Ganesh Vaze College which is a part of the Kelkar Education Trust. Rahane's wife worked for BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) before her marriage.

First published: 6 December 2015, 1:24 IST
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.