The lack of a practice game before the Test series against South Africa commences is not a cause for concern, according to India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.
In an interview with NDTV, Rahane backed the BCCI’s decision to cancel the practice game ahead of the first Test at Newlands. “Sometimes what happens in overseas practice games is that we get flat wickets and ordinary bowlers. That does not help in preparations. It’s a good decision the management has taken.”
“The good thing about this is we’ve got a good quality of bowlers. Since they have done well in domestic cricket, it’s better to face them,” Rahane added.
In the previous tour of 2013, Rahane managed to score 209 runs in two Tests at 69.66. The hosts won the two-match series 1-0 but the 29-year-old believes the team is better equipped to face the challenge this time around.
“When we went there last time the team was completely new,” he said, “But this time all the boys are experienced and we have been there, we know the conditions. Yes, the conditions will be different this time.”
“I think the first match will be very crucial, whoever does well in the first match will be better off in the series.”
Rahane’s Test form has been poor in 2017, aggregating just 554 runs in 11 games at 34.52. But he possesses an impressive record away from home, averaging 53.44 in 24 matches, which includes centuries in Australia, England and South Africa.
He credited his longtime coach Pravin Amre for helping him improve his batting. “We are together in good and bad times, and that is a very good thing. His support is always there with me, and his inputs are very valuable because when we went there last time, we practised together.”
With other openers Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma being consistent at the top, Rahane hasn’t featured in a limited overs game since the final ODI against Australia in October. But he is not bother by it.
“Lately whatever ODIs have been played, I have opened the innings and team management has decided that I am going to be an opener. So it’s all about giving my best in that position. I am confident of doing well in any position whenever I get an opportunity.”
Speaking about Virat Kohli, Rahane said, “As a player, it’s so fantastic to see him get better each day and be amazingly consistent. Everyone is learning from him and his level of consistency. Perhaps the best is his passion for the game.”