New Delhi. Ajinkya Rahane is an important link in the batting of Team India today. His bat speaks a lot on foreign tours. His records testify to this. He has so far scored 12 centuries in Tests and out of which 8 have come on foreign pitches. The way he won the Test series for Team India in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli on the last Australia tour, his reputation as a captain has increased significantly. He is also included in Team India selected for England tour.
Rahane recently spoke candidly on ESPN Cricinfo’s special show Cricketbaazi with Deep Dasgupta on many aspects of his game, besides his advice from karate, Sachin and Dravid. During this conversation, Rahane told how club cricket started from street cricket. Apart from this, Deepdas Gupta told Rahane from his early cricket to Team India’s journey.
Ask related questions.
Here are some special parts related to this interview of Rahane:Deep Dasgupta: You have been playing international cricket for 10 years. But why not much has been written about you?
Rahane: Apart from cricket, nothing comes to mind. Whatever I am today, I am because of this game. I have never tried to know what is being written and spoken about me outside. It is only important for me that I work hard and keep my focus on the game.
Deep Dasgupta: How do you reach Azad Maidan from Dombivli?
Rahane: I started playing street cricket from Dombivli. Doctor Sahib lived in the neighbourhood. He told his father that Rahane’s technique is good, he likes his game. He asked Papa to put me in the cricket academy. I was the youngest boy in the academy. The coach then showed me the photo of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli. He asked me if you would like to play with him. I said yes then. But did not think that there would be a chance to play with such legends.
Deep Dasgupta: You have a black belt in karate. What is the use of this in cricket?
Rahane: Karate made the body flexible, accelerated. Going through karate meant that I should get out of the house and keep doing something or the other throughout the day. Due to this game, I was able to push myself beyond limits and it is working for me in cricket too.
Deep Dasgupta: How was the tour of New Zealand with Virat in the Under-19 team?
Rahane: I still remember that Virat, Ishant and Ravindra were all part of that team. Piyush Chawla was our captain. There were players like Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson in the New Zealand team. I did well on that tour. I had scored three centuries. Scored 560 runs in 6 matches.
Deep Dasgupta: You made your first class debut in Pakistan through the Mohammad Nisar Trophy. How was this special?
Rahane: It was a really good experience to score a century for Mumbai in the debut match. That too in Pakistan. I will never forget this moment. Then it happened for the first time that the champion team of India’s domestic cricket had a match with the Pakistan team. We played matches in Karachi. It was really special to play there.
Deep Dasgupta: You have scored more than a thousand runs in five consecutive Ranji seasons. Have you ever felt that now you should get a chance in Team India?
Rahane: The first four-five matches in the first season did not go well. Things started happening that they should drop. Praveen Amre sir was our coach. He said that if selected in the team, then the player should be given a chance to play 6-7 matches. I scored good runs in the last three matches. Then there were seven league matches. Then didn’t look back.
Rahane also shared an anecdote related to his desperation related to selection in Team India and how Rahul Dravid encouraged him. He told that we were playing against South Zone in the final of Duleep Trophy, Rahul Bhai (Rahul Dravid) was also there. I scored 169 in the final. Then Dravid called after the match and said that I have heard about you. You have been scoring thousand runs for many seasons. It must be coming to mind that there should be a chance to play for India. Just focus on the game. Soon you will get a chance. Don’t run back. Rahul Bhai’s advice came in handy and after two years I got a chance to play for India.