With just over a fortnight before the Test series against Australia begins, there’s a keen tussle over various vacant spots in the Indian team.
Ajinkya Rahane was in the squad for the Test series against England, but did not make the cut even as the hosts lost 1-2.
Rahane has reason to fancy a chance for himself against Australia if he does well in the Irani Cup tie beginning today against a star-studded Rest of India team at the Wankhede Stadium.
However, the 24-year-old said he is unfazed by the competition for places.
Excerpts from an interview with MiD DAY:
The Irani Cup and India ‘A’ will be the only competitive matches you will play before the Australia series. How are you looking at these opportunities?
The Irani Cup is the biggest match on the domestic circuit but I want to take this match as just another game. I don’t want to try anything new as far as my preparations are concerned. I want to keep things simple. I am aware that the coming months are very important for my career. But at the moment my focus is to do well in this match as there is still sometime before the Australia series. It’s important that we (Mumbai) win the Irani Cup. We have just won the Ranji Trophy for the 40th time and the team is in good form.
You got an extended run with the Indian team during the England ODI series. How was that experience?
My aim is to learn as much as possible from whatever matches I play. The England series was a good learning experience. I got a good start in the first match where I scored 47 but got out early in the next two matches (4 & 0). Thereafter, I spoke to a few senior players, the captain and coach. They insisted that I continue to play my natural game because after all I have reached here due to that.
There are many challengers for the opening slot including Virender Sehwag (who was dropped from England ODIs and T20s). How do you view your chances?
Challenges will always be there irrespective of any position I play but I don’t want to take any undue pressure. It’s better that I stay in the present because no one knows what will happen tomorrow. If I think about other players and the competition there is for the opening slot, I will lose my focus and end up putting more pressure on myself. I have never thought about such things. My aim is to always give my 100 per cent on the field and I will continue doing the same things that I have done for the last five-six years in domestic cricket. If I have the right attitude, I know everything else will follow.