Welcome home Ajinkya! It was perhaps the least well kept secret in cricket that Rajasthan Royals really wanted one of their all time greats, Ajinkya Rahane, back for IPL 2018, and when the opportunity came for the Royals management to pounce and use their Right To Match option to keep him for 4 crores, pounce they did! As Royals Chairman Ranjit Barthakur puts it, ‘Ajinkya is a true blood Royal’. Rahane has been in the Rajasthan fans’ hearts since making his debut in IPL 2012. In his first game against Kings XI Punjab, Rahane hit a match-winning 98 and followed that up with an unbeaten 103 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He also hit 84 off 63 balls against Delhi Daredevils. In that tournament, Rahane emerged as the leading run-scorer for the Royals and continued to excel in the campaigns that followed. It’s perhaps surprising that before he starred for the Royals in 2012, pundits and fans doubted his abilities – but since Rajasthan gave him a chance and he used it as a springboard to success, Ajinkya has truly flourished.
Thanks partly to the composure he showed under pressure in some tight run chases for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, the national selectors thought he was made of the right stuff for Test cricket. Rahane made his Test debut in the March 2013 Border–Gavaskar Trophy. A short while later, in only his third Test, Rahane scored fifties in each innings in Durban before making his maiden Test century against New Zealand in Wellington. Then, against England, Jinks was at the forefront of India’s first win in Lords after 28 years, setting the game up with a solid 103 in the first innings. He followed it up with his maiden ODI century at Edgbaston as India wrapped up the series. In 2017, Rahane captained his country in the fourth Test against Australia and impressively led his team to victory. Royals fans will be delighted that one of their favourite sons is back where he belongs, can’t wait to see you in Royals Colours again Jinks!
To learn more about how Ajinkya Rahane has performed for Rajasthan Royals, visit our Royals Legends section.