Ajinkya Rahane backs Virat Kohli & Co to do well in World Cup

Updated: May 23, 2019, 18:28 IST | IANS |

India's middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane has shown confidence in Virat Kohli and his team stating he is confident the team will do well in England as they begin their World Cup campaign

Ajinkya Rahane with Virat Kohli
Ajinkya Rahane with Virat Kohli

Test team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane believes India have a strong side and will do well in the upcoming World Cup slated to be held in England and Wales from May 30.

"Definitely, I am going to back the Indian team. We have a very strong side going into the World Cup. So, I am sure the Indian team will do well," Rahane told ESPNcricinfo.

Two-time champions India will begin their tournament campaign on June 5 against South Africa. Before that, they will play two practice matches against New Zealand (May 25) and Bangladesh (May 28).

On Wednesday, the middle-order batsman, who failed to find a spot in the 15-member World Cup squad, had a memorable debut at the County Championship as he scored a patient hundred for Hampshire.

Rahane, who had managed just 10 runs in the first innings of the Division One game against Nottinghamshire, smashed 119 runs off 197 balls in the second innings on Day Three of the match. His innings was studded with 14 glorious boundaries.

Speaking about his game plan, the 30-year-old said he kept it simple and just wanted to spend time in the middle.

"I am really happy, especially the way I batted. I was really confident and wanted to make it count. My plan was to just bat, bat and bat. I wasn't thinking about runs. I just wanted to be there and take my team to a good position and that really worked this morning," Rahane said.

His innings was filled with fluent timing. He even faced the likes of England's senior pacer, Stuart Broad and Jake Ball but never looked out of comfort. He showed great discipline and played the ball on its merit.

"That (discipline) is really important in England. I have been talking to my teammates about the batting plans and that really worked for me. I just had a simple game plan-wanted to play close to my body and as late as possible," he added.

Rahane became the third Indian cricketer to score a century on debut in the County Championship. Piyush Chawla (for Sussex in 2009) and Murali Vijay (for Essex in 2018) are the two others in this list.

Ajinkya Rahane was left out of the World Cup 2019 squad after poor form in the limited format in the last couple of years.

Subsequently, Ajinkya Rahane decided to sharpen his skills during the summer by playing county cricket.

The 30-year-old Indian replaced South Africa batsman Aiden Markram, who ended his stint with Hampshire at the conclusion of the Royal London One-Day Cup group-stage to join up with his national side ahead of the World Cup, the County club said.

"We are delighted to attract a player of Ajinkya's class and with both Aiden and Dimuth selected for the World Cup, we were obviously in the market for a top-order batsman. Ajinkya showed an interest early on and the way things have played out it is a great opportunity to get him over -- we're really excited to have him with us," Director Of Cricket Giles White said in a statement.

"He has enjoyed playing at the Ageas Bowl previously and it is going to be great to have a player of his stature joining the dressing room."

"I am excited to be the first Indian to play for Hampshire, a county which has a glowing reputation. I hope to score runs and win as a team and would like to thank BCCI for allowing me to play," Rahane said in the statement.

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