NEW DELHI: Made of “steely nerves”, Ajinkya Rahane has such calmness that bowlers don’t feel scared when they fail to execute a plan under him while regular skipper Virat Kohli‘s energy is sometimes mistaken for anger, India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun said on Wednesday, describing the two contrasting leaders of the side.
Rahane led India to a historic 2-1 series-win in Australia after Kohli went on paternity leave.
“When it comes to Ajinkya, he is a calm person. Rahane might look calm from the outside but there is a steely nerve in him,” Arun told India off-spinner Ravi Ashwin on his YouTube Channel.
“He backs players and looks calm and even if a bowler goes wrong, he might not be scared of the captain. He knows that he will be backed,” he added.
Rahane’s calm demeanour helped the team move on from the Adelaide disaster when the side was bowled out for 36 in the second innings.
“With Virat Kohli, if you bowl two bad balls, it might look like he will get angry, but that’s just his energy. Ajinkya brings the calmness, of course, even if he buys-in the plan, he makes sure he executes it to the T,” Arun said.
Asked if the biggest learning from the Australia tour is that there are many ways of skinning the cat, Arun said, “You hit the nail on the head.”
“That has to be this tour’s biggest learning. Instead of imposing it on players, we should make them express themselves. And for anyone to express themselves, there has to be a process.
“But to define that process and make that player agree on the same is the coach’s top priority. But full credit is to the player because he is the one who goes there and delivers them under pressure and given the experience of our bowling attack, the pressure is immense.
“To perform under pressure is the challenge. And our players accomplished that challenge exceptionally well. They saw that challenge as an opportunity.”
The 58-year-old revealed that head coach Ravi Shastri absolutely hates to see Indian bowlers concede boundaries. This was in reference to Shastri’s plan to dry up runs for the Australian on the off-side.
“He will follow the match from the dressing room. But he absolutely hates it when a bowler concedes a boundary. He doesn’t want bowlers to concede a run.
“That’s what he wants. When we bowl, we should keep on taking wickets. And when they are bowling, we should keep on scoring runs. If someone concedes two boundaries, he will shout. If someone concedes a boundary, I know that I am going to be shouted at.”
The coach said he shares such a relationship with Shastri that they debate and fight on different viewpoints but in a detached way.
“His style is usually, ‘No half measures, there’. He conveys us whatever he thinks. I will listen to him patiently. Some of them will be brilliant, some of them will be debatable. Most of them think that myself and ravi Shastru are close friends and that we get along really well.
“But we both have our share of fights as well. For any relationship, arguments are very good because we see it from a detached point of view. We think, ‘what is good for this Indian team’ from a detached point of view. Likewise we are our own critics as well.
“His dialogue delivery is more like our superstar Rajnikanth’s. When he starts talking in our huddle, the energy level is insane. So whatever is discussed, he conveys it to the boys with his added enthusiasm and confidence. That is important for the players. ‘Whatever we do they are only seeing our effort and not the outcome.”
Talking about Mohammed Siraj, who was India’s highest wicket taker in the series, Arun said he is a special talent and it showed when he was only a net bowler during his early Hyderabad days.
“Siraj has both hunger and anger. I saw him at RCB as a net bowler. He was not even in probables in Hyderabad. He had pace and aggression in nets. He will do exactly the same we want him to do.
“If he does not do, you shout at him with genuine care, he will smile and do it. It took him first to Hyderabad side then Hyd, India A. His biggest strength is his confidence in himself,” he said.