After the Australia series, the discussions for India‘s No.4 slot have again got started, as the team is one stop away from the 2019 World Cup. With no international fixtures scheduled for India ahead of the mega event, only the Indian Premier League (IPL) remains for the team management and selectors to decide on who they wish to pick for the position. And one man who is definitely in the running for the league is Rajasthan Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
However, in a recent interview, Rahne has clarified that he isn’t over thinking about the ticket to the World Cup. For the Mumbaikar, the process is more important than the final result as he is more focussed about doing well in the IPL which will automatically take him closer to the goal of representing India in the mega event.
ALSO READ: Ajinkya Rahane Ready to Welcome Steve Smith
Rahane elaborated, “The approach won’t be any different with the World Cup spot looming because at the end you are playing cricket, be it the IPL or any other tournament. You have to score runs and do well for the team. See, if I do well in the IPL, the World Cup (slot) will automatically come. I feel it is important to express yourself and not take any undue pressure thinking about things which aren’t in your control. The focus is the IPL.”
Talking about the IPL, while Rahane led the team last year because regular skipper Steve Smith was banned, he will be the one leading the team this time around. After a quality show last season, Rahane expressed how much pressure he is feeling this year.
Ajinkya explained, “The last year was really good for us, especially as we were coming back after two years and captaining RR was a great experience. I want to thank the management for supporting me and I don’t feel any pressure this year. It is important to play as a team and look to enjoy every moment as the IPL is a long tournament. There are players from a different culture and it is important to gel well and start on a positive note.”
While Rahane and the Royals missed the services of Smith the last time round, the skipper said that the team was really looking forward to welcoming the former Australia skipper this year. In fact, even the Australian team management will be looking at Smith to perform well and make a swift return to the side for the World Cup.
Rahane said, “We are all very excited to have him back. Initially, we didn’t know if he will be able to make it or not (due to the elbow injury). But when we were told he is coming, that was a boost because his experience and records are unbelievable. He has the ability to win the team matches and that is important for any team.”
Shane Warne has bee appointed might be the brand ambassador this time, but his role of mentoring the side last year also came as a huge boost for Rahane while leading the team as Warne helped him with strategizing.
Describing that experience, Rahane said, “The experience with Warne was brilliant. My first season was his last season as a player. Picking his mind is very important because he is a legend. He was always involved and kept strategizing with us. He loves talking cricket and as a team, we have learned a lot just as I have personally learned.”