The opportunity to “become a hero” in Johannesburg might have helped Ajinkya Rahane resurrect his Test career. After being dropped for the first two Tests against South Africa, both of which India lost, Rahane struck a gritty 48 in the third Test at the Wanderers on a pitch that was later rated “poor” by the ICC.
“Definitely it hurts when you know you can do well,” Rahane said at the Ekamra Sports Literary Festival in Bhubhaneshwar. “I didn’t play two Tests in South Africa, I was disappointed. It was a team decision and you have to respect that. I got to know before the Johannesburg Test that I’m playing. So I just thought that was the best opportunity for me to become a hero. And I thought 48 on that pitch was as good as more than a hundred.”
He has scored just 999 runs in 20 matches at an average of 32.22. What about that poor run of form in Tests in the last two years?
“I don’t think there is any problem. There are some phases where even if you think you are batting well, the 30s and 40s don’t convert into fifties and hundreds. The biggest players go through patches like these. How mentally strong you stay through it is important. The mind starts playing tricks on you and negative thoughts come in. It’s very easy to accept sympathy from people and say, ‘Yes you’re right, this is happening only to me’. But if you keep those people and thoughts far, you’ll emerge from that phase faster.”
Chances of playing in the 2019 ODI World Cup?
“I have the belief that I will definitely be in the World Cup team. That’s why I played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and the Deodhar Trophy.”
— ajinkyarahane88 (@ajinkyarahane88) 20 October 2018
Is this India’s best chance to win a Test series in Australia, like Sachin Tendulkar said?
“If I say yes, it is going to blow things out of proportions. We had some good chances in England and South Africa. We didn’t put it to bed. We could have very well done it. I thought we had a very good chance, we are a good cricket team. In Australia, until we bury those things and go out and show we are capable of it, until then it is important to stay balanced and play good cricket.”
Importance of adaptability in Tests?
“If you have patience, you can change your game at any time. If you have to play shots, or improvise, you can. If you are an attacking batsman and you have to play a Test-match like innings, it is very difficult. As a batsman, if your basics are strong, I don’t think you face too much trouble playing in any format.”