New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington, 2nd day February 15, 2014

Rahane thanks Dravid, Tendulkar after maiden ton


Ajinkya Rahane thanked his "role model" Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar after scoring a maiden Test hundred in Wellington. Rahane, playing his fifth Test, came in at No 7 when India were still trailing New Zealand and fell after the lead had swelled to 231. His century helped India finish with a first-innings lead of 246.

"I have been following him (Dravid) from my childhood," Rahane said. "He is my role model and I have played with him in the Indian team and also with Rajasthan Royals. I learned a lot, on and off the field and just want to thank Rahul bhai.

"Also Sachin paaji, because during his last two Test matches he told me about my batting. He said, 'I have been following you, your hard work, fitness, how you have conducted yourself. Be the same and your chance will surely come.' So thanks to both of them."

Rahane had fallen short of a century by four runs in his third Test in Durban. At the time, the Indian tail was collapsing and, in trying to get to the landmark in a hurry, with last man Mohammed Shami for company, Rahane swung at Vernon Philander only to be bowled. This time, his companion was Zaheer Khan, who cannot exactly be relied upon to hang around.

Rahane said he knew there was a lot of difference between getting 96 and getting 100, but added he was not thinking about what had happened in Durban.

"In South Africa, when I got 96, I wanted to get that hundred, because the first hundred is really special," he said. "Those four runs were really crucial at that time (in Durban). I know how crucial four runs are now, because a hundred is a hundred. When you get out on 96, it comes in fifties.

"This time I wasn't thinking about my hundred, I just wanted to play one ball at a time. I just wanted to be there as long as possible and play my shots and keep as much strike as possible.

"We were eight down and Zaheer Khan was batting so I told him I will try to play four-five balls and take a single on the last ball. That really helped me because I was in the present and was not thinking about what is going to happen. I just told him to play the way he liked. I told him I am not thinking about my hundred, that I will try and back my ability and my shots. Whatever happens will happen."

Rahane eventually made it to a century with a pulled four off Corey Anderson and the batsman said it was hard to describe what he felt at that time.

"I don't know how to explain (my feelings after reaching the hundred). A Test hundred is always special. A first hundred, I will remember it for a long time... it's a special hundred for me. Tomorrow is a crucial day for us and hopefully the bowlers will do their remaining job."

Rahane said he wanted to take his time at the crease after walking in to bat with the score at 165 for 5. MS Dhoni's counterattack, after Virat Kohli fell, also helped him.

"I just wanted to play my game, whatever I have been playing in domestic cricket, and continue that. He (Dhoni) gave me a lot of confidence," Rahane said. "I had batted with him in South Africa. He just told me to back myself, play my shots. He said: 'Play one ball at a time, that's it, don't think too much.' That really helped me a lot and gave me good confidence."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2014, 1:36 GMT

    It was lovely watching Rahane batting yesterday. Excellent temperament, not overawed, never tried to overhit the ball, silken touch and those sublime drives with perfect placement. What would have happened in the Auckland test if he was not sawn off by the incompetent umpires. Potentially 2-0 series! I hope I am not jumping the gun!

  • Srinivas on February 16, 2014, 0:17 GMT

    Take a bow Ajinkya! Marvellous knock! Almost spotless! Congratulations to you on your maiden test century. Lots more to come Ajinkya! You have been following Dravid from your childhood and I've been following your batting over the last 2-3 years. Fantastic temperament! The way you celebrated your century was an eye-opener. You might have embarrassed some 'in your face' batsmen across the globe. That effortless 93 metre sixer was jaw-dropping. No bells and whistles. Simple elegant batting with meticulous timing and elevation to boot! What more I can say about your inning and conduct?! Keep it up! You have a fan unconditionally here. Halla bol halla bol...

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2014, 0:01 GMT

    Just so pleases for him. Should have been playing test cricket 3 years ago but our selectors didnt have the bottle to sack any of the players. Ever since he has been on the scene , his technique and temperament has been test standard. Everyone could see that it was only a matter of time. I thought playing t20 might affect his game, but he has showed he is a class act no matter what form of the game

  • KISH on February 15, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    I predicted Rahane to do well in this tour. I am glad Rahane did it. A maiden hundred is very important. But, I hope Rahane doesn't give too much importance to the hundred. A 96 is just as good. Its only the number of centuries you increase when you score a hundred. But your career average doesn't get affected that much if you score a 96 instead of an even 100. Neither does the hard work you put to rescue your team goes unnoticed if you scored a 96 instead of 100. So, there should be no pressure to complete a century. A 96 is just as good.

  • TR on February 15, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    And how long was he in the bench?

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2014, 20:32 GMT

    with this knock i can now see a resurgent Indian batting. Most of our batters have got in and have handled difficult situations and these last 4 test matches will give them a lot of confidence going in to England. However their biggest test would lie in facing a fully fit and fast Mitch Johnson later this year. If they survive that test, there is no doubt, India would be among the front runners to lift the world cup next year. In a way having so many overseas tours just before the world cup is certainly a boast and can only help the players iron out their techniques. As we speak the world cup is exactly an year away and its really heart warming to know that most of our top 6 are now among consistent runs. With Ishant finally joining the wicket taking list, things are looking good for India. However how they fare in the future and how they keep themselves injury free is somethings that needs to seen fingers crossed. I hope it happens and if it does, this new team has the potential.

  • Dik on February 15, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    Wear's Sachin's helmet, bats like Dravid.

  • Lokesh on February 15, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    @prasanna_79 +1 to your comment, absolutely right. Even Akram & McGrath never bowled 90 0r 90+ mph but opposition always feared against these legends. Donald was lethal in '96 tour to SA. I've been watching cricket since '96 WC and have hardly seen any batsman fearing Indian bowlers, seen Jayasuriya, Anwar, Hayden, Gayle, Andy Flower becoming star batsmen in world cricket just by touring India or getting us to tour'em, these batsmen simply played with Indian bowling attack like an adult plays against gully-cricket kids. Sad but true.

  • Tushar on February 15, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    He got such a good mentor in RD, he was bound to succeed. And although i do not like Unmukt Chand one bit, because of the unnecessary hype and zilch performance, I am actually looking forward to his progress in RR under Dravid's guidance. After a couple of years, he might actually become a player to watch out for.

  • Raj on February 15, 2014, 18:51 GMT

    I was hoping they would India would grind it out day 2 and into a large part of day 3 to get NZ out of the game mentally. The lead is significant but I think they are mentally in the game still

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