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Ajinkya Rahane

'I will always preserve Tendulkar's autograph'

Ajinkya Rahane chats about his national call-up, his first autograph, and a painful moment in the nets

Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi

April 27, 2013

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Ajinkya Rahane lofts one over the offside, Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2013, Jaipur, April 17, 2013
Ajinkya Rahane on his national selection: "I could not figure out what I should do" © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Ajinkya Rahane
Teams: India

First national call-up
It was the summer of 2011, during India's tour of England for the ODIs and T20s when I replaced Virender Sehwag. I was at home when I got a call from the BCCI office. I could not believe it initially. Such moments are surreal: I could not figure out what I should do. As a child you dream of playing for your country, but when it really happens you do not know how to react.

First bat
It was an SS brand one and cost Rs 750 (around $14), a steep price for my dad in those days. I was in second grade and we had gone to this sport shop in Dombivli, a northern suburb of Mumbai. As soon as I held the bat, I enjoyed the feel and I wanted it. I took really good care of that bat, keeping it in a pile of socks and in its cover. I still have it.

First autograph
I was the ball boy during the Mumbai Test of the home series against South Africa in 2000. I was playing Under-14 cricket. I was standing in front of the old dressing room at the Wankhede Stadium and I approached Sachin Tendulkar and asked: "Sir, autograph please." And he obliged readily. I will always preserve that autograph book.

First time you were hit in the box
I was part of an Under-15 squad training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Venkatesh Prasad was our coach and he was bowling to me off a short run-up. He cut the ball off the pitch and hit me straight in the box. It hurt so much that I had no idea what had happened.

First time you broke a bat
In the 2012 IPL season, in a close match against Delhi Daredevils, I was facing Morne Morkel. The handle came off from the body. I really liked that bat and made sure I got it repaired the same evening. For a batsman, the bat is your main weapon and you need to respect it. The more you respect it, the better it helps with your cricket. I continue using that bat.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Naresh28 on (April 29, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

If he was taller one would say here comes Rahul Dravid the 2nd. Dravid seems to be mentoring him.

Posted by Agha.sabir on (April 28, 2013, 20:29 GMT)

He made his first class debut against us in Karachi playing for Mumbai. He got a century on his debut. I was enjoying watching his simple technique yet very compact and sweetly timed shots so much that I felt a bit bad about him getting out honestly. I instantly knew he is going to play for India. He has a bright future ahead. Love watching him bat. Good luck Ajhinkya

Posted by ninad008 on (April 28, 2013, 13:05 GMT)

With overzealous guys like Kohli and Gambhir around, it feels good to find level headed guys like Rahane and Pujara. Sincerely hope they make a mark at the national level.

Posted by nayonika on (April 28, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Rahane is a very good cricketer much like the players of earlier days...serious,studious,sincere and humble enough to learn everyday. His batting will improve and flourish with more and more opportunities. His fielding is electric and commitment 100%. He will climb greater heights for every team he turns out including the country.

Posted by kristee on (April 28, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

Here's a player who's guaranteed warming the bench indefinitely. And he'd seldom be exposed, too. His thankfulness is quite understandable.

Posted by   on (April 27, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

I am expecting big things from Rahane in Test cricket. I still think he should have been given more chances in Tests by now. But better late than never! All the best, Ajinkya..I hope RR qualifies for the semis.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (April 27, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

I am expecting big things from Rahane in Test cricket. I still think he should have been given more chances in Tests by now. But better late than never! All the best, Ajinkya..I hope RR qualifies for the semis.

Posted by   on (April 27, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

The entire Rajasthan team, barring Sreesanth has a very likable vibe about them. They seem like honest triers who continue to punch above their weight via sheer determination and honesty. Loved the snippet.

Posted by seeknshare on (April 27, 2013, 4:29 GMT)

Honest answers! Thank you, Ajinkya.

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