Speaking to media ahead of the first Test match against West Indies, which begins on July 21 at Antigua, Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has said that scoring runs on the slow Caribbean pitches would not be easy for the batsmen and they will have to remain patient to do the same. Rahane spoke on different topics ranging from the team preparation, to his views on newly-appointed head coach Anil Kumble and much more.
On the performance in practice games:
Preparation has been very good so far. (We) played two practice games here and I think all the boys did really well, especially bowlers because wickets were slightly on the slower side. It was very challenging for the bowlers but I felt they bowled really well. It was pretty challenging but we enjoyed each and every practice session and we are looking forward to the Test series.
On the pitches in West Indies:
I think we will get similar tracks but here we will have to wait until the 21st. But in St. Kitts it was really slow track, a bit similar to Indian wickets and we are preparing for slow tracks in the series. So the two practice matches were really crucial for us and this first game will give us momentum.
On their plans to counter slow pitches:
Yes, we discussed as a batting unit about all these factors, about how to bat on the slower tracks. Patience will be the key here and it is not going to be easy to score runs for the batsmen. But if you focus and concentrate well, once you get settled it will be very easy to bat on. Even the bowlers have to bowl very disciplined line and lengths here and be patient here.
On spinners’ performance in the practice games:
Yes, spinners also bowled really well, all the bowlers bowled well. Key was to bowl patiently and keep that consistent line all the time throughout 90 overs. I felt after the new ball, [Amit] Mishra bowled really well and (in the) second game [Ravichandran] Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja bowled really well in partnerships. I think bowling well in partnership will be really crucial in the West Indies.
On new coach Anil Kumble:
He has been handling it really well, and we are really happy to have him as the coach with us, because his experience will take us forward as Indian team. He has been fantastic throughout these three weeks, and 6-7 days in camp. His inputs are helping us and in future his experience, his words and the kind of cricket he played, he will share with us.
On West Indies:
It is important to give respect to each and every opponent and I think West Indies, they have a decent attack in [Jason] Holder, [Shannon] Gabriel, [Carlos] Brathwaite, [Devendra] Bishoo. It is important to give respect to them and play according to the merit as a team. You cannot take anyone lightly and as long as we play to our strengths and potential, it will help us in this Test series.