The Indian deputy skipper, Ajinkya Rahane on Monday dismissed criticism he and Cheteshwar Pujara faced for playing slow knocks during the Lord’s Test against England, saying they have played long enough to understand what suits the team’s interest. Even Pujara took 35 balls to score his first run, but it didn’t hit the Indian team as they won the game by 151 runs.
Ajinkya Rahane elaborated, “I am happy that people are talking about me. I have always believed that people talk about important people, so I am not too concerned about that. It’s all about contribution for the team. Everything motivates me. Playing for the country motivates me. I am not bothered about criticism.”
Asked about his discussion with Pujara in the middle, Ajinkya Rahane revealed that they had decided to stay at the crease for as long as possible.
Ajinkya Rahane elaborated, “The communication was all about short targets and building it on from there. Cheteshwar, we always talk that he plays slow but that innings was really important for us. He batted for 200 balls. We back each other. Cheteshwar and I have been playing for long, we know how to handle pressure, how to handle certain situations. Whatever we can’t control, we are not thinking about that.”
The Headingley will be unknown territory for the current Indian team as they have never played at the venue. However, Ajinkya Rahane reckons that it is not something that is a worrying aspect for the team.
Describing the same, Ajinkya Rahane said, “When you are playing in the UK, your line and lengths are very important and that’s a challenge as a bowling unit. 2014 when we came here, we were a young unit, the guys were still learning. Now we are experienced. All the bowlers have played all over the world, they know how to bowl in certain situations. We focussed on bowling in the right areas.”
India’s deputy skipper said in England it’s about finding your rhythm as a batsman and as a bowler.
Ajinkya Rahane concluded, “It’s not challenging really. When you get the rhythm, it’s about maintaining it and just being confident about yourself. I don’t see any difficulty playing at Headingley. It’s all in the mind, mentally we are strong. All the players are in good space.”