5th Jun 1988
Rajasthan Royals, India, Mumbai
Mumbai’s tradition of producing fine top-order batsmen of the compact variety has had a new name added to an illustrious list: that of Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane’s first innings of note came when he hit 172 in the 2007-08 Duleep Trophy against an England Lions attack consisting of Monty Panesar, Steve Kirby and Liam Plunkett. He went on to amass a whopping 1089 runs in the next Ranji season – only his second – and helped Mumbai win their 38th title. He continued his good form in the following seasons and was included in the squad for the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia in 2011. Two centuries there earned him a call-up to the Indian Twenty20 and ODI squads in the England tour as a replacement for the injured Virender Sehwag. His uninhibited strokeplay came as a revelation and though he didn’t always get big scores, he did enough to show that he belonged at the international level. The time on the bench thereafter hasn't hurt his appetite for runs: in IPL 2012 he became the first batsman to hit a century and emerged the leading run-getter for Rajasthan Royals.