Ajinkya Rahane is already in the process of making ‘adjustments’.
Out of the comfort zones of Rajasthan Royals for whom he played 100 matches – 24 as captain – Rahane finds himself in new surroundings.
Now with Delhi Capitals in Dubai, where the team ends its period of quarantine on August 28, Rahane is awaiting the training sessions ahead of Indian Premier League, beginning on September 19.
Given the presence of Shikhar Dhawan, Jason Roy and Prithvi Shaw, there hangs a question mark over Rahane’s role as an opener.
“What role I’m going to play, I don’t know. When we start our practice session, then only we will have that communication. We are still in quarantine. We are still stuck in our rooms as of now,” said Rahane in a virtual press conference from his hotel room in Dubai.
‘Opportunity to explore something new’
“I’m always open to whatever the team asks me to do. Having said that, I always opened throughout my career. It is completely up to the team management what role they want me to play. If they want me to bat 5 or 6, I will definitely accept it. It will be an opportunity for me as a cricketer to explore something new about my game.”
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Elaborating on why the top-order batsmen contribute more to the aggregate in T20, Rahane said, “When opening, you know there are just two fielders outside the ring and you have the freedom to express yourself. Whereas in the middle order – 4, 5, 6 – you have to grind. You know the field is spread. The boundary options are fewer.”
When asked about what he thought during the 2019 World Cup when India was desperately looking for a No. 4 batsman, Rahane admitted, “I was actually thinking I will be there in the World Cup batting at No. 4, but it is gone now. I was playing county cricket when the World Cup was happening. Everyone wants to be a part of the World Cup team, especially when you have worked really hard and your record was really good.”
‘Growth is important’
It will be Rahane’s first stint under Ricky Ponting, the head coach, and he is sure that the tips from the legendary former Australian captain will help him become a better cricketer overall.
“For any player, growth is important. Playing under Ricky Ponting [is something] I am excited about. As a player you want to grow and learn. This is the best opportunity to take my game one step forward. Because of this COVID-19, you can’t spent too much time together but we can call him and discuss cricket,” he said.
He was also asked about the difference of opinion between Ponting and senior spinner R. Ashwin on the contentious topic of running out non-strikers who back up too far.
“Ashwin can answer that better and Ricky has already answered that question. The news is all over,” Rahane responded.
“Let’s keep it that way. We are playing for the same team now, so it is important that we stick by each other and back each other,” added Rahane, who was the Rajasthan Royals skipper when Ashwin had ran Jos Buttler out at the non-striker’s end last season.