Rahane calls for one-month training before cricket resumes

In a post-COVID-19 world, players would be wary of wild celebrations and group hugs, says the Indian Test team vice-captain.

Ajinkya Rahane...“The lockdown has taught us to be more patient.”   -  Emmanual Yogini

 

Not many players have built partnerships with both Steve Smith and Virat Kohli on a cricket ground. Indian Test side's vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is among the select few to have done that.

The Mumbai-based batsman has played under Smith at Indian Premier League (IPL) sides Rajasthan Royals and Rising Pune Supergiants, while Kohli is his international skipper and he considers both of them as superstars of the game.

"Both of them are very good players. Virat's style is completely different from Steve's. They approach the game differently. But both bat brilliantly. At Rajasthan, playing with Steve was wonderful. We enjoyed batting together. Our communication in the middle was good," Rahane told during a virtual media conference held on Wednesday to announce him as the brand ambassador of ELSA Speak, an online English coaching app. 

"Batting with Virat is also fun. We enjoy each other's company and success. We've had good partnerships for India. This is because we trust each other's decisions. Batting with both of them is very special," he added.

Return to limited-overs format

The 31-year-old hasn't been part of India's limited-overs setup since 2018. The 2020 IPL season was considered as a platform for several players like Rahane, who is currently part of Delhi Capitals, to get back into the reckoning for a spot in the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia in October. With IPL being postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the chances of a comeback seem bleak.

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"No one can predict the future. We never thought COVID-19 will be this bad. I just have to be positive. I've thought of doing well for my country whatever format it may be. Making a comeback to white-ball cricket is always in my mind.

Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane.   -  FILE PHOTO/ PTI

 

"But I should not be visualising about the future now. It's important to be in the present. Cricket is a funny game, anything can happen. If I believe in myself, things will work out. It's all about having the patience and valuing small things. If I can focus on these, the result will be good," he said.

Start of cricket

Rahane agreed that resuming international cricket after a considerable break will be difficult. He also said that social distancing should be kept in mind even after the restart. 

"We don't know when cricket will start again. But some kind of social distancing is important when it restarts. Small examples like during celebrations, it could just be a Namaste or virtual High Fives. We could go back to the old-style by staying at our spots and just clapping during a wicket. You can't take anything for granted. 

"The sport won't be affected much but pre-match and post-match activities during the tour will be impacted. I always believe that the safety of the fans is important. Safety outside the cricket field is crucial. We don't know when a vaccine will be found. So all of us should be careful.

"Once things are better, we will need three to four weeks of proper team practice to be game fit. A month's training in the field will be nice. As a cricketer, I want to return to the ground because I miss batting. However, health is much more important," added Rahane.

Lockdown diary

The nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the daily lives of several people all over the world. Rahane claims that positivity is his best buddy right now.  

"I usually have a specific routine for each situation. During the lockdown, I finish my workouts before my daughter wakes up. Staying fit during these times is important. Having a positive mindset helps you. I'm trying to be as positive as I can. I'm following a program which my trainer suggested. I do meditation. I help my wife with cleaning and cooking.

"A big advantage of this lockdown is that I get to spend a lot of time with my daughter. I play with her and enjoy every moment. I've also started doing some Karate. I'm a black belt in Judo so I've started practising it again, like three or four days a week. It's all about fixing a routine, being disciplined and motivated. We should take one day at a time," he claimed.

Importance of English

Rahane stressed how important it is to learn English when it comes to travelling overseas or communicating with foreigners, irrespective of which field you are in.

"As a youngster, I was busy playing cricket that I missed lots of classes in school. This also meant there wasn't enough time to practise communication in English. Communicating with cricketing teammates is easy because we mostly speak in Hindi. The real fun started when I toured another country. 

"My first overseas tour was in New Zealand for India U-19 way back in 2006-07. I was very shy and scared of communicating in English, whether it was about ordering food or speaking with New Zealand players. Communication is important, whichever field you are in. 

"I also remember my first Man of the Match performance for India. It was in Mohali and I had to do the presentation interview with Harsha Bhogle. That was a different experience for me. That was when I decided that I should start speaking in English frequently. We play with international cricketers from other nations in IPL and communicating with them is the key.

"Gradually as I became a regular with the Indian side, conversing in English became a part of the drill. As I saw new faces entering the dressing room, most of them were from a similar background as me. We all needed some time to start being comfortable in conversing with the media," said Rahane.

Sledging

India's Test team has become more aggressive than ever before under Kohli. When it comes to sledging, every single person in the side is ready to give it back, except Rahane, of course.

"I haven't sledged anyone because I'm not a fan of sledging," he quipped.

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