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Rahane is Mumbai's lone torch-bearer at Wankhede

Last updated on: October 21, 2011 20:58 IST

Rahane, Mumbai's lone torch-bearer at Wankhede

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It is difficult to visualize an Indian squad without a single representative from 39-time Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in a One-dayer at the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai, the scene of the country's momentous World Cup triumph just over six months ago.

What could have virtually amounted to sacrilege has been avoided by the presence of performing young Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane in India's ODI squad that will take on the visiting England cricketers in the fourth and penultimate tie of the series on Sunday.

With his exploits at the international level in a fledgling career, including grabbing his maiden man-of-the-match award on Thursday night for a fine innings of 91 in Mohali in the third ODI of the series, the youngster has kept Mumbai's flag flying high.

The injury-forced absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan from the team, and fading away from the scene of Ajit Agarkar and Wasim Jaffer, has left the 23-year-old Rahane as the lone torch-bearer for Mumbai in the series.



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It will be an emotional moment for Rahane: Amre

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Rahane was reluctant to chat about his upcoming maiden international appearance in home environs, citing instructions from the authorities against speaking to the media during a series.

However, his former Mumbai coach Praveen Amre was effusive in praise of the youngster, who has taken on the challenge of opening the innings with another West Zone player -- Parthiv Patel -- both in England and at home.

"It was important for him to have got his maiden man-of-the-match award yesterday [Thursday], especially after he did not do as well as expected in the first two games. But, I feel, he should have got his hundred," Amre said.

"It's important for him to convert 90s into 100s in this particular phase of his career," added the former Test batsman.

Amre felt it will be an emotional moment when Rahane, the 68th cricketer from Mumbai, plays either in a Test or ODI at home.

"It's important to play in front of a home crowd and he will really enjoy it," said the 43-year-old ex-Mumbai coach.



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Amre lauds Rahane's achievements in domestic cricket

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Amre recalled Rahane's contributions towards Mumbai's triumphant run in the National Championships three years ago.

"He has scored over 4000 runs in four seasons. Three years ago when Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy he made very good contribution towards the victory," he added.

Rahane had scored over 1000 runs in that, his second first class, season to help the oft-crowned champions to their 38th national title.

In his first class debut in September 2007 he slammed 143, opening the innings with Sahil Kukreja, who too got a hundred, for Mumbai against Karachi Urban in the Mohd Nissar Trophy match at Karachi's National Stadium.

He made a mark later in the season in the Duleep Trophy too with an innings of 172 for West Zon,. against the England Lions' bowling attack of Graham Onions, Monty Panesar and Liam Plunkett at the Moti Baug ground in Vadodara.



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