| Ajinkya Rahane |
Calcutta: Ajinkya Rahane feels that the new players who have joined the ODI squad, have brought in fresh energy and helped in turning around India’s fortunes in the ongoing one-day series against England.
India are leading the five-match ODI series 2-0 after the first game was washed out.
“The new boys who have joined the team, have brought in a lot of fresh energy. Also, talking about the fielding, we are a very good fielding side. Yes we didn’t do well in the Tests but that doesn’t make us a bad fielding unit. We have made a conscious effort to be energetic on the field and back each other,” Rahane told bcci.tv.
“We were really hurt after what happened in the Test series but we knew that we have to move on. We helped each other in getting over the hurt and to channel our focus on the ODI series. When we won the second ODI, we prepared for this (third) ODI from scratch,” he said.
Rahane, who had to open the innings in the third ODI here in place of an injured Rohit Sharma, said he enjoyed the new role.
“I was really excited and enjoyed opening again. I knew I was batting well and I know the conditions well by now. I went in with a very positive mindset. I knew the ball swings a bit initially but I decided that I wouldn’t go into my shell. My first priority will be to score runs. I was determined to play my shots,” he said.
The Mumbaikar responded with a 56-ball 45 on Saturday that paved the way for a six-wicket victory. The innings was laced with attractiveness and aggression in equal measure.
“When you’ve been batting at four and suddenly open for a match, it does require a lot of change in the mindset. To face the new ball, you need to go in with a different attitude as you would when you walk in to bat in the middle-overs. However, it wasn’t that difficult for me because I am familiar with the opening slot,” he said.
Rahane admitted that he had once again failed to convert a good start.
“To be honest, I too am wondering why this is happening with me and that too, so often. I think I need to make a conscious effort to bat very tight once I reach that stage of my innings. Saying that, I also need to ensure I don’t stop scoring completely and keep the run-flow going.
“I generally have a good concentration level and the lapses don’t happen often. This is a very strange phase for me. But I know that it is just a matter of one innings before I get past this issue. Once I cross the 50-60 mark, I am pretty sure I can go on to score a big one,” he said.
Asked about the lack of form of the batsmen — Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli — Rahane said: “Shikhar was actually batting well. In ODI cricket, sometimes even a good shot can get you out. I thought the shot that he got out to wasn’t a bad one. He played it well and it came from the middle of the bat. Unfortunately, it went straight into the hands of the fielder.
“As for Virat, there is nothing wrong with him. He is a fine player and he is actually looking good while he is out there batting. It’s tough on him that he is getting out cheaply despite batting well.”
Rahane said the present phase would help make Kohli a better cricketer.
“This phase will only make him a much better cricketer. I don’t need to do much when it comes to giving him confidence as his batting partner because Virat is very aware of his game. He knows what he is doing and his confidence comes from that. The only discussion Virat and I had was that we will not let the England bowlers dominate us,” said Rahane.