Playing with three pacers in India is rare, says Rahane

India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said that the nature of the pitch will influence the team selection for the first Test against South Africa at Visakhapatnam.

Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari (right) forged a formidable partnership during the Test series win against West Indies.   -  AP

India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane refused to reveal the team composition for the first Test against South Africa at Visakhapatnam, beginning Wednesday.

“Team combination will depend on the wicket and the conditions. In India, we hardly see three fast bowlers playing, so it will depend on the surface and the conditions,” Rahane said.

Rahane, who had amassed 271 runs from four innings in previous Test series against West Indies felt that it was a matter of past as he is determined to start afresh against South Africa.

“I’m looking to be in the present, something that I did in the West Indies. I am looking to contribute to the team so that I don’t put pressure on myself. What happened in the West Indies is past and it is important to start fresh,” said Rahane.

When asked about the reasons behind his good run in the Caribbean, Rahane said he tried to focus more on the mental aspects as compared to the technical facets.

“It was important for me to stay in my zone, to believe in my abilities. I wasn’t thinking much about the technical aspects... It was all about how I managed the mental adjustments like handling difficult situations and thinking about the team, so that I could contribute. I was thinking more about the mental aspects and my ability rather than thinking about the technical points,” the Mumbai batsman said.

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In the West Indies, Rahane shared some valuable partnerships with Hanuma Vihari, who starred with 289 runs from four innings. Rahane said that ‘good communication’ with Vihari was the key to their success.

“It is important to communicate and see how to take on the bowling. We both communicated well, we knew when we had to attack or when to defend... So communication was the key,” Rahane said.

On reverse swing being a factor in India, he said: “It is a factor in India, but we are not sure at which point it will come into play. As a batsman, you have to be prepared before the series starts. Good practice sessions and communication are very important.”

Though India goes into the Test series against South Africa as the favourite, Rahane feels the visitor deserves ‘respect’ given the number of good cricketers in its ranks.

“It is important to win the series because the World Test Championship has started. With players like Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, who did well in the practice game, and Faf du Plessis in their ranks, South Africa have many experienced campaigners. It is important to respect them. But at the same time, we have to play our game and as we know the conditions well,” he said.