The no.1-ranked Test team India will begin their Test cricket journey in the new year (2020) in late February, during the tour of New Zealand. Ajinkya Rahane, India’s Test vice-captain, has talked about the major factor for this crucial Test series.
While some of the Indian players are ready to begin their international campaign in the new year through the forthcoming limited-overs series at home, Rahane is focusing on the next Test series. The points table leader of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (2019-21) will play a two-match Test series against the hosts New Zealand between 24th February and 4th March 2020.
India have won all their seven matches in the 2019-21 ICC WTC and have already gained 360 points. However, still, the upcoming New Zealand tour will be crucial for them. Using his past experience, Ajinkya Rahane feels that the breeze will be the key factor of the forthcoming series in New Zealand.
Rahane told PTI, “We played there in 2014… there is a breeze factor that is involved. I guess getting used to conditions will be the key as there will be more sideways movement because of breeze. In the last tour, I played in Wellington but Christchurch, we will be playing a Test match after long time. Getting used to conditions will be key.”
While Ajinkya Rahane featured in the last Test series in New Zealand in 2014, he scored a century at Wellington.
As a batting unit, you’ve got to respect every bowler – Ajinkya Rahane
Though New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner is currently in superb form, Ajinkya Rahane feels all the hosts’ players are similarly important. The Indian Test vice-captain is focusing on maintaining his natural game.
Rahane quoted, “Wagner did well in the recent series (27 wickets from last 4 Tests). You can’t take just one name. As a batting unit, you’ve got to respect every bowler. As a home team, they have an advantage knowing conditions well but at the same time, we need to play our natural game also.”
Discussing to handle the strong Kiwi pacers in their home grounds, Ajinkya Rahane has clarified that every batsman should play against them according to their respective strengths.
He added, “There are different ways to counter a different kind of bowling. Everyone has a different method. Few players love standing outside the crease (to negate the swing) and some stand deep inside the crease. Some take middle-stump guard, few take leg-stump guard. Individual players should stick to their own strengths.”
Talking more about the preparation for the forthcoming New Zealand tour, Ajinkya Rahane has put special importance on the basics.
Rahane said, “You have to focus on the basics as you can’t think too much about your technique. It’s about keeping your game simple, playing close to the body, as late as possible and according to the situation. Pace and bounce will be different.”
I think it’s a good idea to have shadow tours with India A – Rahane
Just before the senior men’s cricket team begins their international tour in New Zealand, India A will play three one-day games and two unofficial Tests against New Zealand A, apart from some tour matches. Ahead of the Test series in this upcoming tour, Ajinkya Rahane will also feature for India A in the unofficial Test series against the hosts New Zealand A. Rahane feels that it is a good idea to have a shadow tour with India A before the main international series.
He claimed, “I think it’s a good idea to have shadow tours with India A. So, before playing Test matches, if India A matches are there, it’s good preparation for us. It helps in acclimatization.
“Getting over the jet lag due to a long flight will be the key. Preparation doesn’t start from practicing the skills but it starts from the travel day. Getting over jet lag, getting accustomed to the weather, all small things matter. So ‘A’ tour helps in preparation.”
Rahane said, “Dada and Rahul Bhai (as NCA head) coming together will create a roadmap that will surely take Indian cricket to places.”