Ajinkya Rahane has been the biggest enigma and the biggest positive of this tour of South Africa.
Having been left out of the first two Tests, Rahane was drafted back into the side for the 3rd Test and dished out a superlative performance to help India script an emphatic victory at Jo’Burg.
Out of the ODI set up for a long time, the Indian team management decided to play the ‘Ajinkya card’ in the first ODI, drifting away from the ‘Rahane is our back up opener’ strategy.
India had been searching high and low for a number 4, ever since the 2015 World Cup, having played almost 10 different players in that spot.
And with Rahane having played superbly well in that 3rd Test, the team management miraculously decided to go in with Rahane, owing to his brilliant performance against the South African pace battery in the 3rd Test.
Rahane has now come out and spoken about his number 4 role and feels that he has matured enough to carry out his duty to perfection.
“I am better equipped for batting at number four, I am more matured now. I know how to build my innings at number four,” Rahane said.
“Batting at number four is different. The confidence came from last Test win at Johannesburg, where I scored 48 runs. But I was actually determined to do well at that slot because I have batted at that position during the 2015 World Cup (in Australia and New Zealand),” he added.
Rahane then went onto speak about the 1st ODI and how he approached the target of 270 when coming in at number 4.
“We knew that it (270) was a par score on that wicket. Our bowlers did a really good job. Personally, I really enjoyed batting at that particular position and I am looking forward to doing even better,” he said.
“It’s all about how you think, especially when you bat at Nos 3 and 4, it’s all about how you think. My mindset was just to take my time initially and then later on back my instincts.” Rahane added
Rahane feels that the fast and bouncy wickets of South Africa suit his game style and that he can play his natural game in such conditions.
“I am naturally an attacking batsman and these wickets suit me a lot. There is good pace and bounce. So these wickets suit me a lot. So my plan was to take my time initially and if I get set, then carry on my innings.”
“I enjoy facing challenges, and when you play in South Africa against this sort of attack you know that you are up for the challenge. We don’t take them lightly. As I mentioned, I just wanted to take my time but I enjoyed facing this challenge,” Rahane concluded.