Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch

Teammates in Love

In their first fashion shoot together for a magazine cover, cricketer Ajinkya Rahane and wife Radhika show us a simpler form of love


FWords by Arman Khan

Photos shot exclusivel­y for HT Brunch by Prabhat Shetty Styling by Avneet Chadha

or the longest time, Ajinkya Rahane was just another cricketer to his now-wife, Radhika Rahane. Their dates were few and far between, limited to the nondescrip­t cafés of the Mulund suburb in Mumbai. “The first time we went on a proper date was the year 2007,” says Radhika. Ajinkya remembers the date—the 29th—but not the month. “I had no interest in cricket; he was just a friend in the society we lived in,” says Radhika.

The 33-year-old batsman cannot recall the moment that he realised he was in love with her—if there even was such a moment. “More than anything, it was her sheer simplicity that I gravitated towards,” Ajinkya says. “The way she understood my family and my dreams. That was all that I needed.”

But for Radhika, the road to truly embracing Ajinkya’s world would be a long, often arduous one. “He’d maintained this from the beginning— cricket comes first,” she says. “And I respected him for it. For me, my family and my mental and physical health take priority.”

The two of them had known each other since 2002 by virtue of living in the same building in Mulund. What they did on that first date in 2007 was clearly not memorable, because neither of them can dredge up a memory of it. But both recall returning home from it with an unbridled sense of ease with each other.

“I was the happiest that day,” says Ajinkya. “We seemed to understand each other so well. That was comforting.”

The year 2007 was not just when they went on their first date. It was also the year Ajinkya made his first-class debut in the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season for Mumbai. He scored a century in his debut match, an impressive knock of 143.

From Radhika’s vantage point, the geography of their love unfolded in other, more complex ways. While Ajinkya had to be away for weeks on end, literally hitting the ball out of the park, Radhika was in college, surrounded by young couples romancing each other, holding hands and going on long drives.

“I was certainly not prepared for it and of

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