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NEW DELHI: Ajinkya Rahane made a name for himself with his fluent, textbook strokes in test cricket but the India stalwart has undergone a stunning metamorphosis to become one of the most dangerous batters in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

Purchased by Chennai for the base price of $60,908 in December’s player auction after no other team showed interest, Rahane has tallied 209 runs from five matches with a strike rate of 199, the highest in his team this season.

He produced a match-winning knock against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, the number three batsman finishing unbeaten on 71 off 29 balls in Chennai’s 49-run win.

“I enjoyed my knock, I still feel my best is yet to come,” he said. “The way I’m batting right now, I just want to keep continuing this form and keep contributing to the team.

“I always prepared thoroughly, wanted to improve every day and tried to develop new shots. CSK has given me the opportunity to showcase my full range of shots.”

Rahane, who stands 1.68 metres tall, is not trying to emulate the muscular, power-hitting batters in the Twenty20 competition.

Known more for his long-format exploits, he has 12 hundreds in 82 tests. Instead, the lean and mean 34-year-old has added weapons to his arsenal such as the ramp and scoop shots.

According to the cricinfo website, Rahane is hitting a six every 9.54 balls this season, compared to his previous best of almost 32 balls in 2019. “Everyone has a different style.

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For me, it’s all about timing the ball and playing proper cricket shots,“ he said. “For me, it’s all about being Ajinkya Rahane and just backing my game in the middle.

“Power-hitters are doing well but it’s important that you should back your own style and your own method.”

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