India in England 2014 August 5, 2014

Emulating Laxman helping Rahane at No. 5


Ajinkya Rahane: At Lord's I got to know what it feels like to win a Test match overseas © Getty Images

Having quietly cemented his place in India's middle order for now, Ajinkya Rahane today said he has gained a lot by borrowing a trick or two from former India batsman VVS Laxman.

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."

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  • Android on August 6, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    Rahane is a very stylish batsman ànd glad he got his century because in ST he came so close. I enjoy watching him bat

  • David on August 6, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Rahane has shown that he is indeed a player of both class and good form, and he should ready himself for the number four slot. The present occupant of that slot has shown himself to be all form - and on flat tracks only. He should be dropped immediately to join Dhawan & Nohit as drinks carriers, although given current form he would drop them all.

    Rahane has the true class of India's previous greats.

  • Android on August 6, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    rahane actually owes a lot of his rise to dravid more than anyone else... it was during his stint at the royals that he truly started dominating bowlers of international quality ... he s a bit slow in the ODI format but he can form a vital cog in the WC team if he wills ... right now he looks a safe bet to play for another 2-3 years at the very least at no.5

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    Rahane lost two years of test cricket bcz of sachin's decision to delay his retirement.I always had a feeling that rahane will be our next wall(mix of dravid+vvs).

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    I think he is one of the most improved Batsmen in last one year he's technique is superb and the way he bated in this series is impeccable,his batting some way around reminds me of RD as both them know value of their wicket in test cricket and needless to say in testing overseas condition which has been a challenge for Indian batsmen as always,in a other sense Rahane has put lots of grace into his batting which shows why these boys who scores heavily in domestic cricket deserve a spot in test team,and needless to say Indian team always suffer overseas whenever we select people on the basis of of IPL performances .

  • Baskar on August 6, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Easily the best batsman temperament and technique wise on this test tour for India. Puts a price on his wicket and seizes opportunities to score. India is lucky to have a player of this calibre. Perfect #5.

  • kiran on August 6, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    'paaji' ..... means an elder brother ....... is a word teammates use to address the great kapil dev during his playing days. later on it became customary to address seniors as 'paaji'. still people fondly remembers kapil dev as 'kapil paaji'

  • vikram on August 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    With all his due success, Rahane had shown his class. Altogether he does not get media coverage as he is a humble and down to earth person. Looking at his current form I wish for at least last 2 test he should bat at No.4 and Virat should bat at No.5...God knows he may hit a 1-2 big centuries more in the series...I am not against Virat, as it is a part of a long career, everyone goes low moments and dropping one position will give him more time to be into the game and pick his form fast...

  • Steven on August 6, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Yea I know it could be dangerous to move him from the middle order but I prob would this time cos I think his technique suits seeing off the new ball India need someone to do that to give pujara and kohli more chance of finding form when they get to bat I think it might be worth the risk of upsetting rahanes rythym just to hopefully get kohli back in to form and if rahane and vijay can bat at least 20overs then they have done adecent job whatever there own personal total is cos if kohli comes in after 20odd overs and scores Acentury the openers can take a lot of credit for that by protecting kohli from facing the newball then there's more chance of him being there to face the 2nd new ball and by then he would be well and be able to handle the 2nd new ball better so I think India should do that personally

  • Uday on August 6, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    Along with Vijay, Rahane is clearly the batting star of the tour.The funny thing is that the media still pines for the "stylish" Rohit Sharma. Rahane has however clearly shown the difference between style and substance and the fact that at this level, the game is played between your ears!! I like his calmness at the crease and the fact that he does not go hard at the ball with a strong bottom hand, means that he is much more likely than guys like Kohli to get runs everywhere.

    I find it odd that not many of the stalwarts of Indian cricket are waxing eloquent about Rahane. That is because, we have not had a batsman of this type in the last 30 to 40 years. He may not be pretty to watch or languid (because he is not tall) but India has found its own Steve Waugh who will bleed and make opponents bleed.........

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