Ajinkya Rahane has become one of the batting mainstays of the young Indian cricket team. His consistent performances in overseas conditions has saved India on numerous occasions and he has continued his performance against West Indies too where he has already scored 243 runs in first three matches including one century and half-century. Talking to the journalists ahead of the fourth Test, the Indian vice-captain spoke on various topics ranging from his batting, team’s ranking and more.

Excerpts:

On his preparation for batting at different positions:

I do visualization before the game, a day before the game, and before that also, in the dressing room, before I go into bat. I always try and visualise myself in different situations. And actually that is what helping me in the middle to bat at number five. And it is important to assess the conditions once you go in and play according to that. It is not that, what you are thinking is going to happen in the field of play. But what you visualise most of the times, those things happen. But visualization helps a lot and most of the times I speak with our coaches, Sanjay Bangar and Anil Kumble. So, I think that communication and visualization is really helping me.

On how different was it batting in the second innings in the last Test:

Second innings was completely different but I felt that taking time was also important rather than just scoring runs. Because there was some help for the fast bowlers in that wicket. When me and Ashwin were batting, communication was only to take time and tire their bowlers and we could have attacked them later. But in the second innings, we lost one day because of the rain. So, we had to score quickly on the fourth day – at 4.50 runs per over. We decided we will play with positive intent. And that’s my natural intent – playing positively in ODIs and T20Is. That’s my natural game. In Test cricket sometimes, you have to take your time and score runs. In the second innings, it was important to take time and score runs and get a good score for our bowlers. (Give them) at least 85-90 overs, so that they can take 10 wickets. That was the whole plan – bat with intent and at 4.5 runs per over.

On batting at number 5 and the demands of team management:

It’s not different. It’s how you adjust and how you assess the conditions on a particular number. For me, if I am batting at five or four, it is important to read the conditions really well and play according to that rather than thinking about anything else. So number doesn’t matter for me. Whatever number team management asks me to bat I am always ready for that. Again visualization (helps), because when virat told me that I am going to bat at number four then I was trying to imagine what will be the situation once I go into bat. Sometimes you go in at 10/2 and sometimes you go at 150/2 or 200/2. So it is important to read the situation and play according to that and continue the momentum because batting at no.5 sometimes you want to play positive game because middle order is doing really well.

On the mood in dressing room with the number one rank in sight:

Mood has been fantastic in the dressing room. Our goal is to play attacking cricket and dominate West Indies here because we have been playing good cricket and it is important to finish well on this tour. 3-0 will be very good and yes our long term goal is to be the number one team. Right now it is important to stay in the present moment. As Virat said, (we) play positive and want to express ourselves in the middle. That means we want to dominate here again like we did in the three Tests. It is important to be in that process regularly and think about achieving that no.1 as a team.

On West Indies:

As mentioned before, West Indies is a pretty dangerous team in their home. We played some good cricket and improved. Our bowling unit has been performing really well from the Sri Lanka tour and in India against South Africa. I think we have been playing some good cricket and credit goes to whole team, not only batsmen or bowlers, everyone. Even the management has been working really hard with the boys and our process and our strategies have been fantastic for each and every individual against our opponents. Rather than thinking about opponents we are really improved as a unit.