After ending dismal run in West Indies, Ajinkya Rahane looks to continue good work
India’s Test vice-captain, who was under immense pressure to perform in West Indies, delivered the goods smashing 81 and 102 in the first Test in Antigua. © AFP

After ending a dismal run of form – scoring a century after 17 Tests against West IndiesAjinkya Rahane is set to stay in the moment and will continue the good work from here. India’s Test vice-captain, who was under immense pressure to perform in West Indies, delivered the goods smashing 81 and 102 in the first Test in Antigua.

“You get to learn from every match and every series. I had to wait for 17 Tests, for my Test debut and for this century (in West Indies) I had to wait for 17 Tests. I think there was some co-ordination,” said Rahane in Visakhapatnam ahead of the first Test against South Africa that begins on Wednesday.

“When I was playing for Hampshire, I was thinking, when I made my debut, how my mindset was before that. In these 17 Tests, I was not getting a hundred, I was going behind getting a hundred and it was not coming.

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“So, in the West Indies, my thought process was that I will not think of getting a hundred even once, whatever has to be happen will happen. If a hundred has to come, it will come,” explained Rahane.

Delving further on how he was able to overcome the rough period, Rahane said that he did not work too much on his technique to get back amongst the runs.

“From outside it may look easy, for me it was about believing in my ability. Not thinking about the technical stuff, it was all about how I make the mental adjustment like handling difficult situations,” said the 31-year-old.

Meanwhile, South Africa are without star players like AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, but Rahane believes that India cannot afford to take the Proteas lightly.

“There are five Tests at home versus South Africa (three Tests) and Bangladesh (two Tests). Because of the Test Championship, you cannot take any team lightly. Even before the championship, we were not taking any team lightly and since the points system is involved, every match is important,” he said.

“There is a big difference between winning and drawing a Test in terms of points. When you win home Tests and then go away, there is an advantage that you have points.

“Also, the likes of Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma did well in the warm-up and Faf du Plessis is an experienced campaigner. You can’t take them lightly.”

The pitch at Vizag looks flat with hardly any grass. Asked about the combination India will field for the Test series opener, Rahane said: “Depending on the conditions we will decide the combination. Hanuma Vihari (who bats at 6) can also bowl some spin and that makes a difference. In India, we hardly see three pacers playing,” he said.