Emulating Laxman helping Rahane at No. 5
Coming in at No. 5, Rahane has showed the same bit of maturity in the England Test series that Laxman displayed during the latter part of his 16-year-long international career.
"When batting at No. 5 you have more time on your hands. I noticed how Laxman paaji made the optimal use of time," Rahane said in an interview with BCCI TV. "He used to come to the dressing room, relax, take a shower and take a brief nap. I learnt from him how important it is that during this time when you are waiting for your turn to bat, you don't over-think things and stress your mind out.
"It is important to switch off and go out to bat with a fresh mind when your turn comes. I did take that from him - sometimes, when there is a bit of extra time, I try to sleep for 10-15 minutes. It helps me de-stress and rejuvenate my mind."
Following a match-winning century at Lord's, Rahane hit two fifties in a losing cause in Southampton to highlight his rise as a player. Rahane said that he has grown as a player by just watching some of the greats of Indian cricket.
"I keep watching the videos of all the great innings played Rahul [Dravid] bhai, Sachin paaji and Laxman paaji. I watch how they approached a pressure situation and got the team out of jail," he said. "I draw motivation from watching their innings."
After making his debut against Australia in March 2013, Rahane rose to prominence with two half-centuries against South Africa in Durban, but his 103 in the first innings of the second Test against England in the ongoing five-match series will always remain special for him.
"At Lord's I got to know what it feels like to win a Test match overseas. It was such an emotional feeling for all of us and it was so special," he said. "You play for moments like that. That is the feeling that makes every struggle and difficulty worthwhile."
Making an early impression as an opener for Mumbai in domestic cricket, Rahane has smoothly slipped into his middle-order role at the international level and is enjoying it.
"When I started playing first-class cricket, I opened the batting for two years and did quite well. Then the Mumbai team management thought that my batting at No. 3 will be beneficial for the team. I gave a positive response to the call and batted at that position for the next few years.
"When I got picked for the Indian team, I was there as a middle-order batsman. I had never batted at No. 5 before and it was a very new thing for me. But I took it as a fresh challenge and tried my best to adapt to the role."
With two centuries and four fifties in eight Tests and 15 innings, Rahane, 26, is looking forward to a long career ahead, but he said was important to not get complacent.
"No matter how many Test matches you have played, you're always a little nervous before a game and before going in to bat. And I believe it is important to have that nervousness because that means you care about this game and you respect it."