Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane not reading too much into his pile of runs that helped India reach Friday’s World Test Championship final vs New Zealand.
India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Pic/AFP
India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has often stressed on the “consistent cricket” the team have played to top the points table and earn a berth in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
And one of the most consistent batsmen for Team India during the two-year World Test Championship cycle has been the Mumbai man himself. The stats are impressive: 1,095 runs in 17 Tests (28 innings). Rahane has stepped up whenever the team needed him, be it with the bat or captaincy skills in Australia.
Rahane’s familiarity with Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, where he played a couple of county matches in the 2019 season and has three half-centuries (his last innings here being 51) from the two Tests during the England tours in 2014 and 2018 will again make him the vital cog in the Indian batting when they take the field for the all-important final on Friday.
Best foot forward
Even as the Test specialist gets set to play the biggest match of his career, Rahane is not too keen to rest on his performances in the last two years. “Being the highest run-getter doesn’t matter. That’s all in the past. I want to give my best in this Test which is a final. Playing freely will be the key for me. If the team and I put our best foot forward, we will get the result that we want,” the cool and calm Rahane told reporters during a virtual media interaction on Wednesday.
“I have played for India and Hampshire here at this venue. I know the conditions, but what is important is to adjust to the conditions on a particular day,” he added.
Despite being a consistent performer, Rahane has had his share of criticism for a string of poor scores. Since his century in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne last December, Rahane has just one half-century (67 against England at Chennai) in his last 11 innings.
Kohli’s deputy felt criticism has helped him. “I’m happy to take criticism. I feel it’s because of the criticism [that] I’m here. I always want to give my best whether people criticise me or not,” he said.
Rahane stressed the importance of taking the WTC final as just another game. “We don’t want to put ourselves under pressure, especially because we are going to play a Test match after a while.
“What’s important in this Test match is, playing with freedom and fearless cricket as a team, and backing each other. This would help us rather than thinking about the result. As long as we play our natural game, as an individual and as a team, that will matter a lot,” he said.