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Stay cool at Wankhede, coach tells Rahane

That's the message from Rahane's childhood coach as he prepares for his maiden game at home

Ajinkya Rahane has many special memories of the Wankhede Stadium while representing Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. But Ajju, as he his fondly called in the Mumbai circuit, would surely be a bit anxious to perform in the fourth ODI against England on Sunday as it will be his maiden international game on his home ground. Expectations will be high after his match-winning 91 in the last one-dayer in Mohali on Thursday.


Wankhede calling: Rahane takes a break from nets at Mohali on
Wednesday. Pic/AFP


However, Rahane's childhood coach Rajan Dhotre has a piece of advice for the new star of Indian cricket. "Ajju is bound to feel more nervous even if he has played a lot of first-class cricket at the Wankhede Stadium. The expectation of playing on one's home ground is always high. The pressure of doing well in front of his own people will always be at the back of his mind," Dhotre told MiD DAY yesterday.

"I want him to just relax and play his natural game. He is a positive player and has matured with time. I am sure he knows how to handle such things. He will have many senior players to guide him as well. Ajju just needs to stay calm and the rest will follow," Dhotre, who will not be able to make it to the ground for tomorrow's match due to coaching commitments, added.

Dhotre was coach of SV Joshi High School, Dombivli when Rahane first played the prestigious Giles and Harris Shield inter-school tournaments. "His former school, Tilak Nagar, did not have a cricket team. So, his father (Madhukar) brought him to our school for his last three years in school. He immediately started doing well in school tournaments and gradually scaled the ladder," said Dhotre, who also coached former India and Mumbai spinner Nilesh Kulkarni.

Dhotre, however, refused to take any credit in Rahane's rise: "No one should take credit for his success. He was always talented, and has worked very hard to attain this level. He came close to scoring his maiden century in the last game. I hope he gets one on his home ground. It would be an icing on the cake."

Rahane's batting exploits since his India debut...
>> Aug 31: 61 off 39 balls in T20I at Manchester
>> Sep 3: 40 off 44 balls on ODI debut vs England at Chester-le-Street
>> Sep 6: 54 off 47 balls vs England at Rose Bowl
>> Sep 9: 0 off 3 balls vs England at The Oval
>> Sep 11: 38 off 53 balls vs England at Lord's
>> Sep 16: 26 off 47 balls vs England at Cardiff
>> Oct 1-5: 152 & 13 not out for ROI in Irani Cup
>> Oct 14: 15 off 41 balls vs England at Hyderabad
>> Oct 17: 14 off 15 balls vs England at Delhi
>> Oct 20: 91 off 104 balls vs England at Mohali

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