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Ajinkya Rahane: I enjoyed opening the innings in 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Ajinkya Rahane scored a good 45 off 56 balls © Getty Images
Ajinkya Rahane scored a good 45 off 56 balls © Getty Images

Nottingham: Aug 31, 2014

Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane credited his team’s superb turnaround in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against England to the addition of new boys in the side who have brought in a lot of fresh energy.

India, who lost the Test series 1-3, lead the five-match ODI series 2-0 after three outings. They won the third ODI here Saturday comfortably by six wickets and had beaten England in the second ODI by 133 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method. The first ODI was washed out due to rain.

Rahane, who scored a match-winning century at the Lord’s Test, said the team was upset after the humiliating loss in the Tests and they were determined to put up a great show in the ODIs. “We were really hurt after what happened in the Test series but we knew that we have to move on. We helped each other in getting over the hurt and to channel our focus on the ODI series. When we won the second ODI, we prepared for this ODI from the scratch,” Rahane told BCCI’s official website.

The Mumbai batsman said his teammates have also worked hard on their fielding, an area where they did miserably in the Tests that also led to the sacking of fielding coach Trevor Penney. “The new boys who have joined the team have brought in a lot of fresh energy. Also, talking about the fielding, we are a very good fielding side. Yes, we didn’t do well in the Tests but that doesn’t make us a bad fielding unit.

“Mohit (Sharma) effected a brilliant run-out today and (Suresh) Raina took a superb catch in slip. We have made a conscious effort to be energetic on the field and back each other. Even while practising, we are doing it with the same intensity that is required in a match,” said Rahane, who struck a valuable 45 while opening the innings and set the tone for India’s six-wicket win here.

Rahane had to open the innings in place of an injured Rohit Sharma and he thoroughly enjoyed the knock. “I was really excited and enjoyed opening again. I knew I was batting well and I know the conditions well by now. I went in with a very positive mindset. I knew the ball swings a bit initially but I decided that I wouldn’t go into my shell. My first priority will be to score runs. I was determined to play my shots,” he said.

But for facing the new ball, Rahane, who generally bats at No.4, had to adjust his mindset as well. “When you’ve been batting at four and suddenly open for a match, it does require a lot of change in the mindset. To face the new ball, you need to go in with a different attitude as you would when you walk in to bat in the middle overs. However, it wasn’t that difficult for me because I am familiar with the opening slot,” he said.

Asked about his partners Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, who haven’t done well in the recent past, Rahane said: “Shikhar was actually batting well today. In ODI cricket, sometimes even a good shot can get you out. I thought the shot that he got out to wasn’t a bad one. He played it well and it came from the middle of the bat. Unfortunately, it went straight into the hands of the fielder. As for Virat, there is nothing wrong with him. He is a fine player and he is actually looking good while he is out there batting. It’s tough on him that he is getting out cheaply despite batting well.”

Rahane feels the tough phase that Kohli is going through will only make him a better cricketer.  “This phase will only make him a much better cricketer. I don’t need to do much when it comes to giving him confidence as his batting partner because Virat is very aware of his game. He knows what he is doing and his confidence comes from that. The only discussion Virat and I had was that we will not let the England bowlers dominate us,” he said.

On the personal front, Rahane said he wants to convert the starts into big knocks. “To be honest, I too am wondering why this is happening with me and that too, so often. I think I need to make a conscious effort to bat very tight once I reach that stage of my innings.” he said.

Complete coverage of India’s tour to England here

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