The year 2015 will go down as one of the best in the career of Ajinkya Rahane. The Indian middle-order batsman proved his mettle all around the year to confirm his spot as one of the best players in Team India at the moment.
The 27-year-old Maharashtra man, who will be playing for the Pune franchisee in IPL 2016, caught eyes after his swashbuckling 60-ball 79 runs innings against South Africa in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at the MCG in Melbourne in February.
Rahane came back once again to haunt Proteas in the closing stages of the year as he scored two back-to-back centuries in the fourth and final Test match between India and South Africa at Kotla this month. Virat Kohli's men won the four-match Freedom Test Series, and Rahane was also adjudged as the Man of the Match of the fourth Test.
He scored 127 in the first innings for India, and was not out at 100 in the second innings; the Men in Blue won the match by 337 runs.
Rahane's performances received plenty of praise from former Indian hard-hitter VVS Laxman. "I think he's [Rahane's] a complete player not only from a skill point of view but also from the mental aspect," Laxman spoke to The Times of India.
"His strength is that he's got a solid technique, because of which he can be successful in any condition. He also knows how to play the big shots and he's a very aggressive runner between the wickets. These three qualities make him a complete batsman."
Even 1982 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev echoed Laxman. "In 20 or 30 years' time, those two hundreds he got in Delhi, I don't think we can forget then," Dev said. "The conditions were totally different, his game is not suited to this type of cricket. So once you've been in this situation you become a much better player.
"You play one type of cricket, you get runs, that's fine. But when you start getting runs in different formats and different conditions and situations, then you can call someone a complete cricketer. And I think today Ajinkya Rahane has become a complete cricketer."
Apart from his batting acumen this year, Rahane also shone as a fielder. He broke the world record of taking the most number of catches in a Test match (8 catches).
Here are some of the best performances from Ajinkya Rahane this year:
His heroics at the World Cup against South Africa:
His heroics in the field from the slip position: