New Delhi: Having been earmarked as a long-term prospect for Indian cricket, the opportunity to establish himself in the national team has eluded Ajinkya Rahane so far.
But with the seniors hanging up their boots one by one, the time has come when the likes of Rahane and his fellow youngsters have to take over the mantle of scoring runs.
Rahane has a first-class average of over 63, the eighth-best in history, and after scoring 54 for India A against England in the visitors’ opening warmup game, he followed it up the very next day with 129, and added 84 for good measure against Railways in Mumbai’s opening Ranji Trophy game.
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“I have had a couple of good outings — first against England and then against Railways — and having runs in the bag at the start of the season always help. Batting is all about confidence. When the going is good, one should try and cash in. With the series against England just round the corner, I feel the runs scored stand me in good stead,” Rahane told MAIL TODAY.
It is ironic that Rahane, who has been selected as the backup middle-order batsman in the side, will probably have to wait for Sachin Tendulkar to say goodbye till he gets an extended run in the side. But he’s doing himself no harm at all by absorbing the knowledge he can, especially with a 200-run partnership with the maestro in the Railways game.
“It’s not every day that you get to bat in the middle with someone like Sachin paaji. We have all grown up watching him play and to share a 200-run partnership with him is something that I will cherish all my life,” he said.
“I really enjoyed every moment and the best part was that he kept encouraging me right through the innings. Batting alongside someone like him also teaches you a lot about batting. Talking to him about batting is an experience in itself. To share a 200-run partnership is like the icing on the cake.”
Although Rahane wasn’t a part of the Test team that got thrashed by England 0-4 last year, he was part of the ODI team that too ended up losing 0-3.
Those wounds are still fresh and Rahane, who has been named in the squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming home series against England, says it is crucial that the players don’t get excited about returning the favour.
“I wasn’t part of the Test team back then and only played in the ODIs, but the loss left a scar in everyone’s mind. The upcoming series is very important for all of us and while every Indian fan would want us to complete a whitewash, it is very important that we take one match at a time and not think about the outcome of the series from the word go,” the 24-year-old Mumbaikar said.