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Ajinkya Rahane acknowledges Virat Kohli's contribution to success

The 27-year-old Mumbaikar has scored a century each in Australia, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka before hitting two tons against South Africa at home.

Cricketnext Staff |December 13, 2015, 5:10 PM IST
Ajinkya Rahane acknowledges Virat Kohli's contribution to success

In nearly three years and 22 Test matches, Ajinkya Rahane is currently the most complete Test batsman in the country.

Rahane is brilliant both in attacking and defending. His timing blended with power, his clam composure and a disciplined mind make him different from others. He has done well everywhere, in all the conditions and in both hot and cold situations.

The 27-year-old Mumbaikar has scored a century each in Australia, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka before hitting two tons against South Africa at home.

Rahane achieved the rare distinction of scoring a century in each Test innings on the fourth day of the final Test. He scored a 127 in India’s first innings before hitting 100 in the second innings in his side’s 337-run victory over South Africa in the New Delhi Test, which gave the hosts a 3-0 series win.

After the recent triumph against the Proteas, Rahane, in an interview to The Times of India, said he never thought about outside factors and always believed in concentrating on the things that were in his control.

"I don't think about outside things, like who's saying what, what's going to happen. What I do on the field is the only thing that matters. Contributing to the team and a winning cause is the only thing that keeps me going.

"It comes naturally to me because since childhood, I've always been like that, looking after my cricket, what I need to do and concentrating on what is important for me. It's still a learning phase for me but one of the things I always try and keep in mind is to work on things that are in my control, things that I can focus on. It's going to be a constant learning phase for me and I'm looking forward to that," Rahane told TOI.

When asked to describe his feelings after getting the second hundred in Delhi, Rahane said he was completely blank and didn't know how to celebrate.

"I just completely went blank when I got the single off Imran Tahir in that second innings to get the century. I actually didn't know how to celebrate. I didn't even remove my helmet, just raised both my hands. But, inside my mind, it was a very special feeling. It was second innings and we were 4-57. We actually had to bide time and there was a good partnership going between me and Virat - 151 runs.

"That day, I clearly remember, Virat was batting very well. He was scoring at a strike rate of 70-80. So my thinking was just to keep giving him the strike and take my time," he said.

Rahane's success in the Test series has made him the highest-ranked Indian batsman in Test cricket.

A captain always has an important part to play in the success of a player. Rahane and Kohli too seem to enjoy a healthy relation and form a perfect batting pair. The example of which was on display at Kotla.

Rahane said Kohli has played a crucial role in his career.

"There's always been good communication between us [me and Virat], like it was in that second innings of the Delhi Test. We like batting with each other. In the second innings in Delhi, he was batting so well and it was a good partnership. I remember telling him... 'you just take your time' because he was batting on 82 and I was 50-odd and I thought I'll take the risks until he gets his century and then he can take over.

"He goes to each and every player, discusses cricket, looks at ways to communicate at all the time. At the end of the day, it's about everybody trying to move ahead as a team," he said,

Rahane felt that in this current Indian Test team, which is group of young players playing under a young captain, always back each other on the field.

"This team... we've been playing together for close to two years now and it's been a culture that we always back each other on and off the field. There's freedom to express ourselves. Anyone can just say anything to anyone that can improve the game on all levels and it's always good for the team.

"We created that culture and we all are enjoying it. In the nets too, if me and Virat are batting together, we keep looking at ways to improve each other's game and try and help each other out. As long as everything eventually helps the team, it's great," he told TOI.

The mumbaikar also mentioned about the presence of Team Director Ravi Shastri in the dressing room.

"Ravi Shastri's presence in the dressing room is massive. He gives you that positive vibe and energy to do well on the field. It's great to have a person like him in the dressing room. I'm sure he's also enjoying being with us. We certainly are. He has views that have proved to be very helpful," he said.

A lot of talk was centred around the quality of pitches in the recently concluded Test series which turned out to a low-scoring and dominated by the bowlers, especially spinners.

Many cricket pundits, including former players from other countries, criticised the making of turning tracks to favour the Indian spinners.

However, Rahane dismissed that and said the wicket was same for both the sides.

"We never talk about it. We never think about it. For us it is important to dominate a situation in Test cricket, win that situation and play well. Whatever the wicket is, it is the same for both the sides. As long as we're playing proper cricket. It's great," he said.

Rahane also said that former India captain Rahul Dravid continues to play a key role in his career.

"He [Dravid] continues to play a very important role. Before the Pataudi lecture, we just had a discussion on my game. At times, we just talk over the phone or he sends me a text when he feels he has something important to convey. He just wished me before the series and said 'it's your first long series in India, do well'. Words coming from him actually motivate me a lot. It's massive when he begins to share his experiences with me," he said.

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