Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane fell nine short of a double century in a Group B match against Assam on Wednesday. But Rahane will be happier if his team can win this game and secure six points.
“Frankly speaking, I did not think about the 200. When I walked back to the pavilion at lunch, I was 130 odd (131 off 252). I just wanted to play my shots after lunch, and I came close to reaching double hundred. But for me, the team always comes first,” Rahane told Sportstar.
“I am disappointed... Itna paas aake (to have come so close) to have missed the double hundred. But then, if we win this game, I will be more happy than scoring a double hundred. For me, the team matters. Winning matters the most. That’s my mindset,” he said.
From being 131 off 252 at lunch, Rahane shifted gears in the next session, adding the remaining 60 off just 50 balls. He struck a flurry of boundaries, ensuring the team crossed the 650-run mark with ease. He cut and drove fluently and inched closer to his second double-century in this edition before Gokul Sharma caught him at slips off Riyan Parag about half an hour after lunch; Mumbai declared its innings immediately after.
“When I got closer to 200, I did not want to break the rhythm. Sometimes, when you think about a certain milestone, you lose momentum and get out. I wanted to continue that rhythm. Uss mein agar ho gaya toh ho gaya (If that gets you to the milestone, so be it), it’s about playing with intent. I changed gears after lunch. That was important because runs started flowing, and that’s why I came closer to 200,” he said.
“At least I tried my best and played my shots. You learn every time. That’s the mindset you should have, whether you get double hundred, 150, 175, it’s all about what you learn from those innings and grow as a cricketer.”
Out of the national team for a while, Rahane has had a memorable outing in the Ranji Trophy so far, amassing 538 runs in seven innings. With a new national selection panel in place, Rahane could make a comeback in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at home next month.
But Rahane does not want to think too far ahead. “Selection is not in my control. The selectors will decide that, so I leave it up to them. For me, it is about scoring runs for Mumbai and winning matches for the team. I like to stay in the moment. My dream is to play for India again.”
Rahane scored 204 against Hyderabad last month, and came close to adding another double-hundred to his tally. But not one to rue missed opportunities, Rahane is focussed on sealing an outright win for his team.