Mumbai: Pravin Amre feels sorry for Rohit Sharma but at the same time, he is happy that his protege Ajinkya Rahane managed to live up to the faith of the team management in the first cricket against West Indies in Antigua.
India Test vice-captain Rahane scored 81 and 102 – his first Test hundred in two years during India's 318-run victory, which also earned him the 'Man of the Match' award.
"I felt sorry for Rohit. I personally feel Rohit should have been given opportunity also after scoring those five hundreds. We know that he is a player capable of doing great things. But overall the team management backed Ajinkya and he returned that faith, which is important from Ajinkya's prospective," Amre told PTI here on Monday.
And according to Amre, Rahane's personal coach, hard work and patience finally paid off for the right-hander.
"God is kind. It was really his hard work because the past two years hasn't been easy for him (Rahane). I will give him the credit for the way he handled himself. He was never frustrated and worked hard," he said.
"Even if you see the last six months, how he handled himself. He went to England, played with the Duke ball (in county cricket). One week he was in Bengaluru (at the National Cricket Academy). So he has done what was in his hands. That was very important," added Amre, best remembered for his debut hundred at Durban against South Africa.
Amre felt the 81-run knock in the first innings gave Rahane the much needed confidence.
"The 81 he hit in the first innings was so crucial from the team's perspective. That innings was motivating for him. Even though he did not get a hundred, still he played crucial innings in England and South Africa. Apart from Sri Lanka, he has done very well. I was sure the hundred was around the corner," he said.
"The Indian team is now No.1 in Tests and his contribution has always been always there. The was he handled the situation in the first innings after India were reduced to 25 for 3 was commendable)," added Amre, a former Mumbai coach.
Skipper Virat Kohli before leaving for the Caribbean tour had backed Rahane to come good.
Asked Amre whether Rahane reposed his captain's faith, he said, "The pressure is different when Virat (Kohli) and (Cheteshwar) Pujara get out (early). Ajinkya is the player who handles pressure well because he has got the temperament, technique and the tactics.."
Amre gave all the credit to Rahane for his resurgence.
"My contribution is not that much because ultimately a player's hard work is important. We are there to give them moral support and keep motivating. One innings can give you back that confidence and exactly that happened," Amre signed off.
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The court of public opinion has condemned Ajinkya Rahane, even as the team management looks to the past in assuring him of a future.
Both Pujara and Rahane squandered decent starts on a day when the willows of debutant Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill produced half centuries against New Zealand in the opening Test here
Electing to bat, Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara shared 61 runs after the fall of Mayank Agarwal (13) early. India lost three wickets in the afternoon session before debutant Iyer and Jadeja added an unfinished 113 runs to take India across the 250-mark.