Mumbai: Unaffected by the interest of the media in relation to the most suitable batting slot for him in the Test line-up, his usual spot at number 5 or one-down where he batted in the last two Tests in Sri Lanka, Ajinkya Rahane says he relishes to bat outside his comfort zone.
"I take it as it comes. I really enjoyed batting at number three in Sri Lanka. I got a hundred there (at no. 3) and we won the (second) Test match," said the Mumbaikar player in an interview to the media.
"I am ready to do whatever the team management wants me to do. I like to bat out of my comfort zone. That's what actually gives me that high, that happiness, as it shows that the team management and captain have belief in me, that I can bat anywhere and whatever the situation is, I am there for the team," said Ajinkya, the 18-Test-old Mumbaikar.
"That's a good sign for me as well as for the team that I can handle any situation and take the team out of any situation. I am not thinking too much about the batting position. I really enjoyed batting at no. 3 in Sri Lanka and I am completely agreeable to whatever the team suggests," he added, to try and put an end to the debate.
Ajinkya Rahane, who has now emerged as one of the strong team's middle-order mainstays, got a second innings century (126) at the P Sara Oval in Colombo batting at number three and India succeeded went on to defeat the hosts by 278 runs and draw level in the three-match series after losing the opener in Galle.
Under the leadership of Virat Kohli the Indian outfit then produced yet another top-drawer performance and won the final Test at the SSC Ground in Colombo by 117 runs to clinch the rubber 2-1, their first overseas series victory after 2011 in the West Indies and their first win in Lanka in 22 years.
Although he did not have as massive success with the bat in Lanka as he had in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia, Rahane was very happy that the team won the series coming from 0-1 down.
"I got one hundred and we won that Test match. I got out on 36 once. I wanted to contribute more but am happy that we won that Test series from 0-1 down," he said.
Rahane, who has collected four Test tons and two 90s - all made outside the country - said that it was all about making the requisite adaptation.
"It's all about mental adjustment. When you bat at no. 3 you have to take a little more time (to settle down) than at no. 5. The ball is relatively new. You have to take your time, give half an hour to the bowlers, see how the bounce is and the (behaviour of the) wicket, and then you can play on your instinct.
"Whereas, batting at no. 5 you can actually take 10-15 minutes (to settle down) as you can actually know (understand) about the wicket (by) sitting inside the dressing room.
"By watching the openers and no. 3 bat, you can actually know (about) the wicket and the bowling attack - the line and length they are bowling - and in 10-15 minutes (on arrival at the crease) you can play your shots. At no. 3 shot selection is important, at no. 5 too it is, but a slight mental adjustment is needed (to bat at no. 3)," he elaborated.
Rahane also praised Ravi Shastri's role as the team's director and said that the inputs from the former India all-rounder had assisted the team in a big way.
"Inputs from Ravibhai actually helped us a lot. He always gives us positive feedback and tells all positive things, his experience on and off the field. The team has benefited a lot, improved its thinking and got motivated from his talks."
Personally speaking, he credited Shastri for his guidance.
"He has told me... Take your time in the first 10-15 minutes and after that you have the game and have all the shots to dominate the best bowling attacks at the highest level.
"The first 15-20 minutes or half an hour (on arrival at the crease) is an important time for any batsman - whether he is playing his first Test or 100th. He has told me 'take your time, see what's happening, what a particular bowler is bowling, give him respect and after that it's all yours," he said.
Photo courtesy: www.sports.ndtv.com
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