Ajinkya Rahane: 'I enjoy playing abroad'

Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara have not been in the best of form going into the series, but Rahane said the duo have the backing of the Indian team.

"I’m not sure about the combination, but Kuldeep is definitely the X-factor in our team," Ajinkya Rahane. (File Photo)   -  K. Murali Kumar

Ajinkya Rahane is a bit of an oddity in Indian cricket, averaging more than 50 overseas and just over 30 at home.

The India vice-captain has scored centuries in tough conditions in Wellington and Melbourne and when India was here in 2014, his century in the first innings at Lord's came when no other batsman in the top seven even crossed 30.

"Personally I enjoy those challenges, playing abroad," he said at Edgbaston on Monday, ahead of the first Test against England.

"You know here in England the ball does a bit, in Australia there's bounce, again in New Zealand the ball does a bit. I'm really looking forward to this series."

“During the practice game, it was like playing in Mumbai or Chennai.“ - Ajinkya Rahane on the weather in the UK

 

Batting in England was more about the mind than skill, Rahane felt. That India has played only one practice game did not worry him.

"We've had decent practice - during the practice match and before it as well. Morning and afternoon, guys used to bat in the nets. So we've spent enough time in the nets. More than skills, it's about our mindset, especially playing here in England. In terms of skill both teams are on par. It will be a test of our mind and character here."

"In England, patience is the key. It depends on the weather if it's sunny it's good to bat, but if gets cloudy then definitely it's good for the bowlers. If the weather changes, it's important for the batsman to hold back and respect the bowler, respect the conditions. If you're set here, you should really make it count," he added.

Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara have not been in the best of form going into the series, but Rahane was not concerned.

"We are not worried at all as both are really quality batsmen," he said. "It just takes one good innings to get into your rhythm. We all back them. Ultimately the decision [to select them or not] will be taken by the coach and the captain."

Rahane led India in the final Test against Australia in Dharamshala last year, where Kuldeep Yadav made a big impact on debut.

The left-arm spinner came on to bowl late in India's nets session on Monday, by which time most of the top-order batsmen had finished.

"I’m not sure about the combination, but Kuldeep is definitely the X-factor in our team. We will have to see how the wicket will be tomorrow and day after. We don’t have to forget Ashwin and Jadeja. They’ve been doing really well for us," Rahane said.