Little Master Sunil Gavaskar looked visibly impressed after India’s good show at the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. The legendary India batsman ‘cautiously’ praised India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane and said, “Importantly, let’s not jump into conclusions too quickly. If I say that his captaincy is outstanding, then again, I will be accused of backing a Mumbai boy and all kinds of things will happen. So I don’t want to get into that because these are early days.”

Ajinkya Rahane impressed one and all with his captaincy, making some moves very different from that of Virat Kohli’s. His plan to bring off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as early as the 11th over proved to be a masterstroke as the experienced tweaker opened floodgates. Matthew Wade was first to fall in the trap of Ashwin before the big fish Steve Smith was hunted.

Rahane’s field placing was pin point-accurate. The dismissals of Smith (caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at leg gully) and Marnus Labuschagne (caught by Shubman Gill at backward square leg) was a fine proof of it. Sunil Gavaksar praised the 32-year-old Mumbaikar for the same.

“From what I have seen in the last 2 Tests he captained and the one-day matches he captained, he has got a great sense of where the fielders should be kept. Having said that, it’s very important for the bowlers to bowl to their field. If the bowlers bowl to the field, as they did today, then the captain looks very good,” Gavaskar said on Sony Networks.

Important to cherish the brilliance of Bumrah, Ashwin and Siraj

Further, Sunil Gavaskar reckoned that India’s success on Day 1 should not only be credited to the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane. The 71-year-old praised Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Mohammed Siraj especially, for their spectacular bowling. Siraj, known for his expertise with the new red ball, was given a go at the bowlers only after the lunch break.

“It’s important for India to look beyond the fact that it’s only Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy. It’s the way Ashwin bowled, it’s the way Bumrah bowled, it’s the way Siraj made his debut. I mean imagine, being a new-ball bowlers, and you don’t get to bowl a single delivery before the second session. Only in the second session, you get to bowl in the 27th over but he showed great spirit in the way he came and bowled.

“These are the things we should enjoy. It tells you a lot about this Indian team that they were at the Australians and they got the early wicket. If they hadn’t got the early wicket, if Australia had gotten to a 60 or 70 for 0 kind of start, then their body language might have been different,” Gavaskar added.

After bowling out Australia for 195 in the first innings, India finshed the Day 1 on 36 for 1.



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