Ajinkya Rahane confident of good show in South Africa

Ajinkya Rahane last played an ODI in October 2011 © PTI

Mumbai: Nov 26, 2013

Elated after being included in both Test and One-Day International (ODI) squad against South Africa, India batsman Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday expressed confidence on his performance on the bouncy tracks.

“I am included in the ODIs also, really happy for myself. I did well in Champions League [T20 2013], really confident and looking forward to the series,” Rahane told reporters in Mumbai.

He was the top run scorer with 288 runs in the T20 League that concluded in October.

The Mumbai player said he has been preparing for the difficult conditions in South Africa, especially for the short-balls.

“I went to South Africa two-three months back with India A and played two Test matches there. Played one crucial knock as well. I am really confident that whenever I get my opportunity there, I am sure I will do well. I have prepared myself for the South African conditions,” he said.

“I have been practising in the last nine-10 days with plastic balls under Pravin Amre sir. So I am sure that will help me in South African conditions,” he added.

The 25-year old said that he has also been working on the mental aspect of his game to prepare for the tour.

“In international cricket, it’s most of the time the mind game. Obviously you need to be technically sound in different conditions like South Africa but the more mentally you are stronger, it is better for you. I have been working on my mental aspect as well,” he said.

Asked about the shuffling of the team he said, “Shuffling of batting order is npt in my hands. I always give my 100 per cent. Whatever hard work I have done on the ground, I am reaping the fruits now. I have been included in the one-days as well, so thanks to all the selectors who have given me the chance and whenever I get the opportunity, I am 100 per cent sure that I will do well.”

Rahane said the South Africa tour would be a good opportunity for him.

“It is a good opportunity. But I don’t want to take pressure on myself thinking about it. Obviously South Africa series is important but at present the team is performing well. The team’s confidence is high which certainly matters a lot. With better confidence, one can dominate in international matches. I am looking forward to the upcoming series,” he said.

India would be playing its first Test series after batting legend Sachin Tendulkar‘s retirement and Rahane said the team would miss him.

“A player like him for last 24-25 years to not only represent his country but also win for it, he has carried the burden of expectations of an entire country on his shoulders, the way he has handled pressure. We will all definitely miss him,” he said.

He added that he has learnt a lot from watching senior Indian players from close quarters.

“I have been fortunate to have spent a lot of time with the team. I got the opportunity to closely watch Sachin paaji, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman. I consider myself to be fortunate to have stayed with them. Now whenever I get the opportunity, I know how to handle the situation and how to prepare for each condition. I am ready for that,” said Rahane.