Focus on controllables, Rahane's advice to Pant

Ajinkya Rahane said if Rishabh Pant gets a look in for the first Test then the wicketkeeper-batsman needs to keep things simple.

After being India's first choice wicket-keeper for a while, Rishabh Pant has lost his place in all formats.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

Normally quiet and introspective in nature, Ajinkya Rahane lets his bat do the talking. In India’s last Test at the Basin Reserve, in 2014, Rahane notched up a brilliant 118. Predictably, he has fond memories of the arena.

He remembered that hundred. “That was a really special moment for me. I remember that my backlift was changing because of the wind and that was a challenge to control my backlift. There were times when I had to shorten my backlift.”

He added, “Sometimes you’ve got to play with low backlift and, maybe, you have got to change your guard and play accordingly.”

India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane during a practice session.   -  AFP


On pacemen having to bowl against the wind in Wellington, he said, “I don’t think any of the fast bowlers like to bowl against the wind but it’s about what your team wants. Wind is a big factor in Wellington.”

Rahane’s advice to the young Indian opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw was to “go out there and play your natural game.”

Wickets in New Zealand ease out after the first couple of days, he said, and added the batsmen should consolidate. There would be opportunities for the spinners in the later stages of the Test, Rahane noted.

About Rishabh Pant, he said, “He bats at No 6 or 7, so he has to keep visualizing about it if he got an opportunity. Keep it simple, focus on the controllables.”

Rahane said expectations on foreign soil from this Indian team, particularly after the conquest in Australia, had grown. “Now every condition for us is home condition. Still I would say, New Zealand is favourite in home conditions. But we will try our best.”

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