For Ajinkya Rahane, it is all in the mind

With a run of 62, 103, 72, 60 and 39 in the five games in West Indies, Ajinkya Rahane was India’s best batsman in the just-concluded series. The key to his transformation, the 29-year-old revealed, was the control over mind

cricket Updated: Jul 14, 2017 19:57 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ajinkya Rahane,India national cricket team,West Indies cricket team
India's Ajinkya Rahane was named the Man of the Series in the five-ODI series against the West Indies.(AFP)

With an average of 46 in 37 games, the last match as India captain - Ajinkya Rahane’s Test career has been on the right track.

But somehow, he had not sailed smoothly in his limited-overs career.

However, as India begin to build its nucleus for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, Rahane is beginning to show signs of revival in the ODIs.

READ | Zaheer Khan will be contracted for 150 days a year, says Sourav Ganguly

With a run of 62, 103, 72, 60 and 39 in the five games in West Indies, he was India’s best batsman in the just-concluded series.

From not getting a single game in the ICC Champions Trophy to winning the player of the series award, Rahane is looking to cement a spot in the ODI squad.

The key to his transformation, the 29-year-old batsman revealed, was the control over mind.

“My mindset was really good in the West Indies. In England, I had a great preparation. The thing I developed was to keep my mind completely blank and just focus on one ball at a time and that helped me in my game,” said Rahane, after finishing his first training session here after arriving from the Caribbean tour.

READ | Women’s Cricket World Cup: India need to step up vs New Zealand, says Mithali Raj

Once a regular, Rahane had gradually lost his spot in the playing eleven following his inability to pace the innings. After sitting out of all Champions Trophy matches last month, he got a break only after regular opener Rohit Sharma was rested for the Caribbean tour.

To his credit, Rahane soaked in his frustrations and pressure. The determination to get back was unmistakable.

“When we went to the West Indies, I was really hungry to do well, I was determined to do well,” he emphasised.

“It was a really important tour for me. At the same time I didn’t want to put pressure on myself and looked to express myself.

READ | Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals back in IPL fold after serving 2-year ban

“I had confidence in my game from the beginning, but on this tour my self-belief was (really) good, I wasn’t thinking about any special moments, I just trusted my game,” stated Rahane.

“The first match (where he scored 62) gave me that confidence, and in the second match (onwards) I batted with freedom. This tour will give me a lot of confidence, a lot of self-belief. I am actually looking forward to doing well, and be consistent in all the formats.”

When the confidence is high, a player can’t wait to be in the thick of action and it is obvious Rahane is excited about playing in Sri Lanka.

READ | Dad’s drive behind Punam Raut’s journey from chawl to Team India

“Sri Lanka is like India only. The wickets are also not very different. They are a dangerous side at home and we have to respect them. We want to win every game. (But) It’s going to be challenging, we will have to stay in the present, start from scratch and play to our potential.

“The last series there was a fantastic experience where we went on to win. We will try and win every game. We will approach every session with full intensity.”

At 29, how does he look at his career? Is he where he would have wanted to be?

“I don’t like to think about the results and milestones. I am really hungry, never get satisfied and I want to be the best.”

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 19:57 IST