Ajinkya Rahane has been the most improved batsmen for India over the years and has proved his talent in all the conditions across the globe. In the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka Rahane proved his versatility by batting at different positions and showed his capability to score runs at any position.
Ravi Shastri, the team director, and captains, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, have made it clear that the Indian batting order will continue to remain flexible in the future. And Rahane, being the complete team player that he is, sees it as an opportunity rather than a hurdle.
“The management and the captain decide the batting order according to what they think is the best for the team. As a member of the team, you have to not only accept their decisions but also make your game plan accordingly,” Rahane told BCCI.TV.
“It is obviously a challenge to adapt when your position in the batting order changes. But I like to get out of my comfort zone. My strength lies in taking up the challenge thrown at me and coming good at it. I take these things positively and see them as an opportunity to achieve something out of my comfort zone,” Rahane said, stressing he is happy to play any role in the batting lineup he is asked to.
In order to be versatile, it is extremely important to continue to grow your skill-set constantly, keeping in mind the conditions and situations you will be faced with. To achieve that, Team India are currently gathered in Bengaluru for a pre-series camp ahead of the all-important home series against South Africa, which begins with three T20Is and five ODIs.
Rahane said the focus of the batting group in the camp currently is to work on their T20 skills. “In the camp the preparation is going on really well. We worked on fitness for the first couple of days and now for the last two days we have been working on the skills. Since the series is starting with the T20Is, we are specifically working on how we can improvise as batsmen,” he said.
Besides batting, there is also a lot of significances placed on fielding. Rahane, who took world record eight catches in the first Test against Sri Lanka, reasserted the impact that good work in the field can have a match.
“The importance of fielding in modern cricket has risen to a great extent,” he said. “You can win matches with your fielding and catching. All of us have been working really hard with your fielding coach, R Sridhar, because we know that saving 15-odd runs, taking a couple of good catches and effecting a run-out can win you a match.”
Team India spent the last year and a half traveling overseas, on tours to South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia. Now, as the big home season looms, Rahane believes they will have to start the process from the scratch and not get complacent thinking of the home advantage.
“We will be playing in India after a long time. Yes, we do know the conditions here well but this is a new series and a different time. It is very important to respect the time and the situations,” he said. “We have played a lot of South Africans bowlers during the IPL, but they too have played against us. We will have to start afresh from the scratch.”