Ajinkya Rahane, after a superb IPL 2023, could very well be the next Chennai Super Kings captain

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalApr 24, 2023 | 13:39

Ajinkya Rahane, after a superb IPL 2023, could very well be the next Chennai Super Kings captain

In 5 matches so far in IPL 2023, Rahane has has scored 209 runs at a strike-rate of almost 200. Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL

If there is one player that has been the star of IPL 2023 so far, it is Chennai Super Kings' Ajinkya Rahane. In 5 matches, Rahane has a brilliant strike-rate of 199.05 and has scored 209 runs at an average of 52.25. Rahane, who was once compared with Dravid for his defensive batting style, has all of a sudden become the Andre Russell or Chris Gayle of T20 cricket.


For a cricket fan, who has seen Rahane play over the years, the sudden change in his game is something no one is able to comprehend. Everybody is asking the same question: “Is this the same Rahane we have seen play over the years?”.

Not just cricket fans, even former cricketers are gobsmacked by Rahane's new form. For instance, last night, in the match against KKR, when Rahane played a half-scoop shot for a four over third man against Kulwant Khejroliya, former CSK cricketer Robin Uthappa said: "Ye Ajinkya Rahane nahi ho sakte..ye koi aur hai."

Rahane played a match-winning 71-run knock off 29 balls, that included 5 sixes and six fours. It was because of his fiery innings that CSK was able to put up a total of 235 runs, and won the game by 49 runs against KKR.

Ajinkya Rahane was awarded Player of the Match, his first in seven years after his 79-run knock against KKR on April 23. Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL

A look at Ajinkya Rahane’s over the years in IPL: Rahane's last year’s IPL numbers, when he was part of a KKR camp tell a different story contrary to what we are seeing today.

  • In 2022, Rahane appeared in 7 matches for KKR scoring mere 133 runs at a strike-rate of 103. He was benched for the rest of the matches as his performance was below par for a T20s.
  • In 2020 also he had a disappointing season, as he ended up with 113 runs in 9 matches averaging 14.12 at a strike-rate of 105.60. 
  • In 2021, he played only 2 games in which he scored only 8 runs.
  • After being bagged by Delhi Capitals at Rs 5.25 crore in 2020, Rahane's auction price came down terribly in 2023 after his poor outings. CSK acquired his services at a price just of Rs 50 lakh.

All of this because, his strike-rate as a batter was unimpressive and that being a one-dimensional player, he failed to justify his position in the team. In the past four year, Rahane’s strike-rate has been below 110 in IPL, a big reason for his downfall in shortest format.

In fact, if we look at Rahane’s game since 2008, his strike rate has only twice crossed 130 and has for several years been below 130. 

His average strike-rate in the past 15 seasons is 123.04.

In IPL 2023 he has a strike-rate clocking near 200 with his game being transformed completely. Rahane, from the very first match for CSK had showed an extremely aggressive side of his batting.

​ Ajinkya Rahane smashed 79 runs in 29 balls against KKR at Eden Gardens on April 23, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL ​

Why was a change needed? By upping his game in T20 cricket, Rahane has extended his IPL career for the next 3-4 years. 

Until 2022, his game was going nowhere, and in 2023, there was an extremely high possibility of him going unsold. But, he was in the end picked up by CSK.

A change was also needed because if Rahane had played the same style of game like he had been playing for the last 4 seasons,this would probably have been his last IPL season. 


Is Rahane the next skipper choice for CSK? We know that this is probably the last season for Dhoni. Even Dhoni has been dropping hints off late that this might be his last season.

If we look at CSK’s squad, apart from Jadeja, Rahane has emerged as one of the best choices for the role of a skipper. He is in great form and being a calm and composed cricketer, just like Dhon, he is perfect for captaincy.

Apart from Rahane and Jadeja, there are no other Indian players who can step into Dhoni’s shoes next season. 

Rahane has got the skills and has the experience of playing in the tournament for last 15 years. Though his captaincy record is not that great in IPL with 9 wins out of 24 matches, we can’t hold that against his candidature as captain for a new team.

The team owners might not go for Jadeja as the captain for the next season because of his poor track record last year. Rahane, in such a case becomes an obvious choice.

Last updated: April 24, 2023 | 13:49
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