Dharamsala: Cricketer Ajinkya Rahane has said he is working towards attaining greater consistency and is looking to convert starts into big scores to secure his place in the Indian squad.
Opener Rahane scored a stroke-filled half century and was looking good for a hundred until his dismissal for 68 in the fourth one-day international (ODI) against the West Indies on Friday, paving the way for India's 59-run win.
"I have often got starts but haven't been able to convert them into big ones. I realised that if I get a big score opening the innings, it will only help the team's cause. I would want to get a lot more consistent," Rahane said.
"My focus is to keep up the momentum attained after scoring 30 or 40 by playing risk-free cricket through orthodox shots. Opening the batting is an important slot in the order as it sets up the platform for the team in their innings."
The 26-year-old mentioned about enjoying stiff competition for the opening slot, identifying it as a 'challenge'. He is currently in contention for the spot with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay.
"It is good to have healthy competition when you are playing for the country. You need to accept it as a challenge especially at this stage when the competition is intense," the right handed batsman said, thanking skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for backing him and providing necessary support to play his natural game.
"Dhoni asked me to play according to my strengths. I am concentrating on performing to my potential. I would like to take it step-by-step and score runs consistently."
The Mumbaikar also expressed his delight at India's impressive form against the West Indies saying that the team showed a lot of character after losing the series opener. India came back strongly to level the series at New Delhi Oct 11 before winning here Oct 17.
The five-match series ended 2-1 after the third ODI at Visakhapatnam was abandoned due to cyclone Hudhud and the tour getting forfeited because of the West Indies' sudden cancellation of the tour due to a payment dispute with their Board before the fifth and final ODI at Kolkata.
Rahane also gave a vote of confidence to team-mate Virat Kohli, who was recently struggling with poor form.
"Virat is a hardworking cricketer and has handled his approach really well. He was calm and stable even when he wasn't scoring in England and his return to form is a good sign for the team," Rahane said of Kohli, who scored a match-winning 127.