Ajinkya Rahane is a top-order Mumbai batsman who, with 1089 runs in his second Ranji season, was a crucial factor in Mumbai's 38th title win. Only 11 players have scored 1000 runs in a single Ranji season, and that puts his effort in perspective. Rahane's progression to the Mumbai Ranji team was a natural one - he had represented them at all age levels, and was always seen as a prospective Mumbai player if not more. His bumper Ranji season followed an impressive showing in the 2007-08 Duleep Trophy, where he scored 172 against an England Lions attack that comprised Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Steve Kirby and Liam Plunkett. That innings came after followers of Mumbai cricket had started to write him off as a a fine talent but fit only to make a swift 50. Two years later, he had shown they were way off.
He continued to churn out the runs in domestic cricket, hitting three hundreds each in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons of the Ranji Trophy. Two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia brought him a place in the India ODI squad for the tour of England in 2011. After months of sitting on the bench and travelling with the Test squad, Rahane got his debut in Delhi in March 2013.
In only his third Test, Rahane scored fifties in each innings in Durban before making his maiden Test century against New Zealand in the drawn Test in Wellington. Rahane then was at the forefront of India’s first win in Lords after 28 years, setting the game up with a solid 103 in the first innings. He followed it up with his maiden ODI century at Edgbaston as India wrapped up the series.
Rahane continued his impressive form in Australia, scoring fifties in Adelaide and Brisbane, before striking 147 in Melbourne, establishing himself as a vital cog in the batting department. Rahane was a key part of another first; his 79 helping India to their first win over South Africa in a World Cup match.