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Ajinkya Rahane honoured with life membership by CCI

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Ajinkya Rahane, India’s most consistent batsman in the last couple of years, has been conferred with the honorary life membership by the Cricket Club of India (CCI) here on Friday.

Honouring the top-order batsman was CCI president Kekoo Nicholson in the presence of past president Sevanti Parikh and other members.

Rahane joins an illustrious list of sportspersons, not just cricketers, to be conferred with the CCI membership and these include Sunil Gavaskar, Viv Richards, Geet Sethi, Michael Ferreira, Muttiah Muralitharan and MS Dhoni, to name a few.The timing of the membership could not have been better as it came eight days before Rahane’s first wedding anniversary. Rahane will be in Bengaluru attending Indian team’s camp ahead of the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Series on his wedding day (September 26). He will travel to Bengaluru on Sunday for the seven-day camp that begins the next day.

The 27-year-old right-handed batsman who has risen from humble background, who has come a long way from his early life in Dombivli to making centuries at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s, has been looked upon by the club as the flag-bearer of Mumbai cricket at the world stage.

While inviting Rahane and his wife Radhika to make full use of the facilities at the CCI, Nicholson said that the Indian Test vice-captain will serve as an inspiration for a lot of youngsters in doing well in sports, particularly cricket.

Parikh wished Rahane to continue playing the manner in which he has been of late and also to play the game in the right spirit. Parikh also told Rahane how the club rules had to be changed to allow a certain Sachin Tendulkar to enter the pavilion even before he turned 18.

All along nodding his approval while also accepting the praises that came his way and the membership, Rahane, with his wife to his left, said that it was his dream to become a member of CCI.

In his acceptance speech, Rahane said: “I am thankful for the prestigious membership. During an under-14 camp at the CCI, I had it in my mind then that I wanted to become a member of the club. The first time I entered the club, it was full of positive vibes. It was an amazing feeling,” Rahane said.

“As cricketers when we travel abroad, we always hear of CCI as a historical place. The Indian cricket team became No. 1 in Tests at the CCI that houses the Brabourne Stadium. It really is an historical venue. I am really humbled to be here,” said Rahane.

For all his centuries at the first-class and list A levels at various venues including some historical ones around the world, Rahane is yet to reach a three-figure mark at this venue. In seven first-class matches at the Brabourne Stadium, Rahane has aggregated 439 runs with five fifties and a highest of 82 not out for Mumbai against Punjab in 2008-09 Ranji Trophy season. He has been playing at the Brabourne Stadium from his days as an under-15 player for Mumbai.

Perhaps, the next time he pads up at the venue that has hosted 18 Test matches between 1948 and 2009 besides eight ODIs and one T20I besides several historic matches before Wankhede Stadium became Mumbai’s Test venue, Rahane will notch up his first three-figure score as a privileged member.

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