My job is to take back seat and help Virat: Ajinkya Rahane

PTI, Feb 4, 2021, 10:05 AM IST

Credit: Getty image

Mumbai: As captain, he was at the forefront of India’s epic triumph in Australia, but Ajinkya Rahane would prefer to take a back seat while lending a helping hand to the returning Virat Kohli in the high-octane Test series against England.

Rahane, who led India to their greatest overseas Test series victory in Australia recently, also said that there is no room for complacency against a quality side like England in the series, starting here on Friday.

The upcoming matches will decide New Zealand’s rival in the World Test Championship final at Lord’s in June.

“See, my job is to take a back seat and help Virat. You know as a captain, there are too many things in captain’s mind, so as a vice-captain, you have to visualise the situation, think about what can happen in the game and then if captain asks you some suggestions, you should be ready so my job is really easy,” Rahane said at the virtual press conference.

A quiet person by nature, Rahane said that he will certainly speak when approached for inputs.

“I take a back seat (and) whenever required I’ll go and tell him (Virat) or whenever he ask me about certain things, I will just go and tell him. For me, personally I generally take a back seat whenever I am the vice-captain.”

The senior batsman also said that the Australian series win for him is a thing of past and there won’t be any complacency when they take on England.

“Not at all, we know every series, every game is really important, especially in (this) Test championship. What happened in Australia that was really special but that is past again,” the stylish right-hander said.

“I don’t think we have to think too much about complacency or any other (thing), we know that what’s our strength and we know how the Indian wickets (pitches) behave. We respect England team. They did well in Sri Lanka, so basically we have to play good cricket, back our strengths and play as a team,” Rahane said. He didn’t want to dwell on India being favourites to reach the final of WTC.

“The WTC final is three-four (five) months from now. The focus should be on present series. New Zealand played really well and deserved to be in the final. For us, it will be about taking one game at a time.”

Asked if Axar Patel will be handed a Test debut, Rahane remained non-committal.

“We will decide on the playing combination after tomorrow’s training.”

But Rahane did drop a hint that Indians are bracing for a spin-friendly wicket at the Chepauk.

“I think the Indian wickets will always suits any spinner, so yes we know we are playing in India, we back our strengths. But we have to wait and watch, how it (the pitch) behaves from day one, but in India there is always assistance for spinners.”

Hardik Pandya had his first training session on the day and Rahane evaded questions whether the all-rounder was bowling at the nets.

“He is working really hard on his game, as a bowler and also as a batsman,” was all he said.

He agreed that minor adjustments will be required as the action shifts from Australia to India but he is personally confident about his own batting.

“Yes, little bit adjustments needed, but at the moment, I have been batting really well. It is all about what the team requires in that particular situation and bat accordingly.

“For me, it is all about contribution for the team rather than thinking about my own performance or my own outcome. So I will give my 100 per cent, whatever the team requires in that certain situation and I feel really good about my batting.”

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