Kanpur: The return of Test cricket featuring the Indian team has also marked the return of debate on the role of Ajinkya Rahane. The 2-match Test series between India and New Zealand is also being seen as a test of Rahane’s ability with the bat considering the poor form that he has been in over the last year or so.
Rahane hasn’t registered a big knock since his century in Melbourne on the tour of Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In fact, his average in the current season has been around 19. When it comes to his last 15 Tests, the veteran batsman averages under 25.
Speaking to media ahead on the eve of the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, Rahane played down the talks over his form, saying it’s the benefit of the team that’s his focus and not his own individual performance.
“I am not concerned about my form, I just think about contributing for the team, it is not always about scoring a hundred. I always put the team first. I am very fortunate to lead the country, I am not bothered about what is going to happen. I am just focused on giving my best.”
“When I am batting, I am there as a batter. The captaincy hat comes on when I am there in the field. It is all about what sort of game plan we have, what sort of strategy we have. I just like to keep it simple,” he added.
The Indian cricket team chosen for the 2-match series against New Zealand is being seen as a ‘second-string’ side by many. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant, etc. have been rested from the entire series while Kohli will be missing the opening encounter, Rahane is confident of the youngsters stepping up.
“First of all, we will miss these three guys (Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma). But it is a good opportunity for all the youngsters to play, whoever gets an opportunity, they will look to play with freedom. This team is all about backing one another. Conditions here and conditions in South Africa will be different, first, we are thinking about this series,” he asserted.
The echoes of the ICC World Test Championship final will be ringing in the Indian players’ ears considering it was the New Zealand team that handed them a defeat in the title decider.