Indian star batsman Ajinkya Rahane has credit Rahul Dravid for making him a better leader as he is now going to be India’s test vice-captain in the upcoming Caribbean tour. Talking about his preparations for the tour, Rahane has said that he has worked out different strategies to overcome different challenges that he is going to face in the upcoming tour.

“In West Indies, from whatever I have heard, a few wickets have good bounce and pace. Jamaica has good bounce. Few wickets might have some turn, some help for the spinners. So I am just practising according to that,” he said in an exclusive interview to ESPNCricinfo.

“I was practising with wet rubber balls (ahead of the 2014-15 Test series against South Africa at home) just to get my reaction right, my hand-eye co-ordination right. Because sometimes wickets are softer, two-paced wickets, it helps to practise with a tennis ball. The tennis ball comes [on to the batsman] slightly slower than a rubber ball. So I have been practising with a tennis ball, rubber ball and leather ball,” he added.

Rahane who has always got the backing of legendary Rahul Dravid during his time at Rajasthan Royals and has grown as an important player in Team India after that. He also feels that Rahul Dravid had a great impact on his leadership skills.

“He (Dravid) gave me the confidence to express myself – not only on the field but off the field in team meetings or wherever we travel. He just told me, “Whatever you feel, just be free to express it, so that your mind will be freer. You will start thinking more and more,” Rahane said.

Rahane who captained India during the tour of Zimbabwe last year says, “I think as a leader, as a captain, it’s important to back your instincts, whatever you feel. Yes, it is important to take advice from your colleagues, but, in the end, what your instincts tell you, you should back that. Whenever I am on the field, I always try and think: If I am the captain, what should be my field? What will I do in certain situations, certain conditions? I always think that way, so that whenever an opportunity comes I am ready for that.”

Rahane also says that there is no shortcut to success as only dedication and determination could bring success for any individual as he said even the legends like Sachin and Dravid has worked hard in nets despite getting legendary status during their playing days.

“It’s important to train even if you’re not batting. You just have to do that routine every time. After IPL I didn’t bat for almost 20-25 days. I was just training, did my pool sessions. I just started my batting seven-eight days back. It’s important to get into that rhythm. It’s a long season ahead,” Rahane said.

“Preparation is something you can control; results you can’t. If you see, even Sachin [Tendulkar] paaji or Rahul bhai used to prepare well before series. I saw Sachin paaji preparing here even before his 200th Test match. You have to have that dedication, that determination, that willingness to prepare.”

    I am a sports enthusiast. Primarily a football fan these days post the golden era of Indian cricket.

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