Rahane made his first-class debut in 2007–08 season and averaged an impressive 62.04 after 100 innings. Rahane scored over 1000 runs three times in his first five seasons. He made his international debut in a Twenty20 International against England at Manchester in August 2011. With batsman Shikhar Dhawan injuring his fingers, Rahane made his Test debut in the March 2013 Border–Gavaskar Trophy. Rahane's first Test century came at Basin Reserve, Wellington against New Zealand. He had captained the team in fourth Test against Australia in 2017 and lead the team to victory as the regular skipper Virat Kohli had missed the fourth Test due to a shoulder injury.
Rahane was born on 6 June 1988 in Ashwi KD, Ahmednagar district to Madhukar Baburao Rahane and Sujata Rahane in a Maratha family. The family came from the village of Chandanapuri, Tal-Sangamner. He has a younger brother and sister, Shashank and Apurva. When Rahane was seven, his father took him to a small coaching camp with a matting wicket in Dombivli, as they could not afford proper coaching. Since he was 17, Rahane took coaching from former India batsman Pravin Amre.
Rahane cleared his Secondary School Certificate from SV Joshi High School, Dombivli.
Rahane married Radhika Dhopavkar in Mumbai on 26 September 2014.
Rahane had performed well when India U-19 toured New Zealand in early 2007, with two centuries. The tour boasted future international stars such as Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Ishant Sharma, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Ravindra Jadeja. The scores in New Zealand impressed the selectors and they picked him for the Mohammad Nissar Trophy in Pakistan. He had no first-class experience prior to this match in Karachi.
Rahane made his first-class debut, at the age of 19, for Mumbai against Karachi Urban in the Mohammad Nissar Trophy in September 2007, at Karachi, when most of the first-choice Mumbai players were unavailable for various reasons. Opening the innings with Sahil Kukreja, he scored a century on debut 143 (207), with Kukreja scoring 110 for a total of 247. Rahane was subsequently picked for the Irani Trophy match against Rest of India.
He made his Ranji Trophy debut for his first-class side Mumbai in the 2007–08 season, following an impressive showing for West Zone in the 2007–08 Duleep Trophy, where he scored 172 against England Lions.
Rahane, with 1089 runs in his second Ranji season (2008–09), was a crucial factor in Mumbai's 38th title win. He continued to impress in domestic cricket, scoring three centuries in each of the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons of the Ranji Trophy. His first-class top score of 265 not-out (batting at no. 3 for Mumbai) came against Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal in the 2009–10 season. Rahane surpassed 1000 runs in three separate seasons, and scoring 152 in the 2011 Irani Trophy match against Rajasthan helped him get selected for India's Test squad.
Rahane made his List A debut for Mumbai against Delhi for the Ranji One-day Trophy in March 2007. He contributed 61 runs to a 171-run partnership with former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer. Two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia brought him a place in the India ODI (One Day International) squad for the tour of England in 2011.
Rahane progressed through the Mumbai ranks and has also been a part of the Indian U-19 team and the India A. Ajinkya Rahane has also turned out for India Blue and India Green in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.
Rahane was named in the Test squad to play the West Indies in November 2011. Rahane was carried in the squad for 16 months and in his presence, he saw seven players make their debuts. His performance in the limited-overs cricket (ODI and T20I) during that period was not encouraging, as he averaged around 25 in both ODI and T20 cricket, and struggled for form in the series against Pakistan and England (January 2013).
Rahane made his debut in Test cricket on 22 March 2013 against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi. According to the media, Rahane got this chance through "sheer luck". Shikhar Dhawan, who made a dazzling start to his career in the third Test at Mohali, scoring 187 on debut, was the obvious choice for the Delhi Test until he suffered an injury to his knuckles on his left hand. Gautam Gambhir, who was picked as a replacement for Dhawan, was sidelined owing to jaundice. Rahane was handed his India Test cap which brought an end to a lean patch for Mumbai, who had not produced a Test player for India since May 2007. Two single-digit scores in the game prompted many to question Rahane's ability to handle pressure and replicate his domestic success at the international level.
Despite his failure in the debut match, Rahane was included in the playing eleven for the first match of India's tour of South Africa (2013–14). Batting in the lower-middle order, he made 209 runs at an average of 69.66 in the series (including a 96 of 157 balls at Kingsmead, Durban) against the bowling attack comprising Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. "For a man who had spent many a tour and series warming up the bench, carrying drinks, wondering when his opportunity will come, he has taken his chance with both hands, even though it arrived in the most difficult of conditions to bat in", cricket pundit Sidharth Monga wrote. Rahane finished as India's third-highest run-getter in the series, but he was in the most precarious position of all before the series began.
Rahane made his first Test ton at Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand on 15 February 2014 against New Zealand. India was in a difficult position when Rahane came to the crease at 156 for five and by the time he departed with 118 India were in a match-winning position ruined by Brendon McCullum's famous triple-century. "He had a mountain of first-class runs backing him, of course, but did he have what goes around by the queer name of X-factor? Did he have that extra edge in his game and personality that separates top-class international players from the rest? Was he merely humble, or was he unable to assert himself, unable to absorb real pressure? After his first two Test tours to South Africa and New Zealand, we can safely conclude it must be the former. Underneath that seemingly soft exterior lurks a solid Test batsman, and he was on display at the Basin Reserve", ESPN Cricinfo wrote in their analysis.
Rahane played in the Investec Test Series (India tour of England, 2014) in England. His previous overseas performances (in away Tests, Rahane averaged 61.83 having scored 371 in four Tests including a century and two fifties) earned him a place in the playing eleven over Rohit Sharma. He justified his selection by making his second hundred at the second Test match at Lord's Cricket Ground. Put in to bat on a green-top wicket by Alastair Cook, India collapsed to 140 for six by tea, only to be rescued by Rahane's century. He was supported by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scored a valuable 36, besides putting on 90 runs for the eighth wicket. In the process, Rahane became the fourth Indian batsman to post a Test century on his first appearance at Lord's, joining Sourav Ganguly, Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Agarkar.
Rahane played in the 2014–15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. In the third Test match at Melbourne, Rahane made his third Test hundred. He made 399 runs in four, including a century and three half-centuries against the opposition attack of Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, the core of a bowling unit that famously won 2013–14 Ashes series 5–0.
In the first Test of 2015 tour of Sri Lanka, Rahane broke the world record for most catches in a Test match with eight. In the second Test at PSS, Colombo, he scored his fourth Test hundred, scoring 126 in India's second winnings, and India went on to win the match. In the process, he reached his career-best ranking of 20th, at the ICC Player Rankings.
Rahane played in the 2015 Freedom Series. In the 4th test match at New Delhi, Rahane made hundreds in both the innings on a pitch where most batsman found it difficult to score, and with this feat he became only the fifth Indian to join the elite club of twin centurions in a single test.
On 16 August 2016, Rahane achieved his career best test batsmen's ranking of No. 8.
On 25 March 2017, Rahane became India's 33rd Test Captain when he led the team in the 4th test against Australia in Dharamsala due to an injury to Virat Kohli. He scored 46 runs in his first innings and quick 37 Runs in 2nd innings as India's Test captain.
Two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia (2011) brought Rahane a place in the India limited-overs squad for the tour of England. He made his debut against England at Chester-le-Street as a replacement for opener Virender Sehwag. Although Rahane made 40 runs at strike-rate of 90.90, India's hopes of their first victory of the 2011 summer against England were thwarted by a washout at Chester-le-Street.
He did well in his maiden international series (2011 NatWest Series), against England in England, and in the return series. He made a 47 ball 54 on his second match of the latter tour. Rahane failed to impress in his next few limited over matches against West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England.
Rahane made his second ODI fifty in 2013-14 Asia Cup, only to be followed by another slump. In a short ODI career in the middle order, Rahane has seemed unsure and struggled at times to find the balance between defence and attack. He showed signs of comfort at the top of the order with rapid centuries against England (September 2014) and Sri Lanka (November 2014), but Rohit Sharma's second ODI double-century followed by a big hundred against Australia at the MCG pushed Rahane back to the middle order. T20s In the ICC Cricket World Cup followed, Rahane only managed to score 208 runs from 8 matches, with an average of 34.66. He was dropped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the second ODI against Bangladesh but after the series, he was appointed as captain of India for its tour of Zimbabwe for ODIs and T20Is in 2015 when a second string squad was selected. India won that ODI series 3–0, although Rahane was not able to leave any big impacts with the bat, he made total of 112 in three matches with only one half-century in it.
Rahane had a relatively good home series against South Africa. Batting at number 4 he scored 3 half-centuries including a quickfire 89 in a losing cause where South Africa put on a mammoth total of 438.
Rahane made his international debut for India in a Twenty20 International against England at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester in August 2011. He scored a half-century on this match (61 of 49) against an England attack comprising Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan. The match was the only T20I played by former Indian captain Rahul Dravid.
Rahane was part of Indian team make it to the final of 2014 World T20. After sitting on the bench for the first three matches he got a chance to play against Australia where he scored 19 runs. He gave India a good start in the semi final scoring 32 runs as India went on to win the Match. He also captained India in the two Twenty20 International against Zimbabwe, winning the first and losing the second match. He scored 33 and 4 runs in those matches.
Rahane was widely regarded as not being a Twenty20 player going into 2012 Indian Premier League, but had a superb season for Rajasthan Royals. Previously he was in the Mumbai Indians squads and got limited opportunities. And then, he caught the eye of Rajasthan Royals' Shane Watson, who had watched him score an 80-ball hundred in a session in the second innings of a three-day game against Australia A in 2010. Having bought him from the Mumbai Indians, Rahul Dravid and Watson got Rahane to open the innings. "Opening the batting with Rahul bhai gave me a chance to express myself and showcase all that I had learnt over the years," Rahane explained.
Rahane has had a successful stint with Rajasthan Royals so far, playing under Rahul Dravid's mentorship. Rahane rose to prominence in the Premier League world in 2012 season for Rajasthan Royals. He hit a match-winning 98 in his first game of IPL 2012 against Kings XI Punjab and followed that up with an unbeaten 103 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. His 84 off 63 balls against Delhi Daredevils was in vain though, as they lost by just one run. In Premier League 2012, Rahane became the first batsman to hit a century and emerged the leading run-scorer for Rajasthan Royals. He was retained by the Royals for the 2014 Premier League season.
Over the years, Rahul Dravid has been given a lot of credit for the way Rahane has matured as a player. With Dravid guiding him, Rahane has transformed from a shy, long-format specialist into a player capable of batting at any position, in any format. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar told NDTV, "What has been impressive about Rahane's career is the way he has made those little changes that have helped him to get better in every format of the game. This batsman is a thinking batsman, who keeps thinking about how to get better and that is why he is such a vital cog in the Rajasthan Royals team and a vital cog in the Indian cricket team."
Rahane plays in the middle-order for the national team in Test and ODI cricket and as an opener in all forms of T20 cricket. He batted in the top three for Mumbai – starting as an opener and later playing at No. 3. Rahane is widely praised by Dhoni for his batting technique, commitment and discipline to the game, often being compared with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. He has been described on a number of occasions as "one of the rising stars of Indian cricket". Former Australian captain Steve Waugh compared Rahane to the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar due to his compact technique, range of shots and temperament.
Rahane is a versatile player who adapts to the pitch and weather conditions easily, for which he has performed consistently on overseas pitches. His trademark shot is the back-foot square-punch towards the off-side against the seamers. He is also a good hooker and puller of the ball. Against spinners, his most-productive shot is the slog sweep-over mid-wicket. He occasionally uses his feet and comes down the pitch to loft the ball over the bowler's head for a boundary or the maximum. He is a good timer of the ball; the gift of timing combined with power is what makes Rahane successful in all formats, according to skipper Virat Kohli.
Rahane is also a very good fielder, who has good reflexes and anticipation along with his calm and composed attitude, making him the 'complete package' as a field, according to Indian fielding coach R Sridhar. On 15 August 2015, he broke the record of most catches in a test match when he took 8 catches in the first test against Sri Lanka at Galle.5th Indian Batsman to score centuries in each innings of a Test
highest number of catches in a Test (8)
first batsman to hit six fours in an over in IPL (against S Arvind, RCB)
joint-record with 5 other players for highest number of catches in a T20 match
CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year: 2014–15
M A Chidambaram Trophy for best Under-19 cricketer: 2006–07
In May 2016, the BCCI recommended him for the Arjuna award.