Rahane: scoring a century in Delhi is special

Two-and-a-half years ago Ajinkya Rahane made his Test debut against Australia at the Ferozeshah Kotla and after getting a hundred on his return to the same venue it was a special moment for the middle-order batsman.

Ajinkya Rahane... delighted with his knock.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Two-and-a-half years ago Ajinkya Rahane made his Test debut against Australia at the Feroze Shah Kotla and after getting a hundred on his return to the same venue it was a special moment for the middle-order batsman.

Rahane, who was part of the Indian team that had recorded a 4-0 whitewash of the Test series against Australia, had got out cheaply in both the innings of his debut match. On Friday, after scoring a century in the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Kotla, Rahane was delighted.

It is a very special hundred for me because I made my debut in Delhi. I had a few things in mind — those memories against Australia. I was pretty determined to bat well. I knew I was batting really well. But it was important to spend time in the middle and later on look for a big innings,” said Rahane in the post-match press conference here.

When we were at 138 for six, I was recollecting that even at Lord’s (in July last year) we were 142 for seven, same situation. I was just thinking to communicate with other batsmen and back my instincts.

When Ashwin came in, I told him that if the ball is there to be hit, I will go after it. The response from him was crucial. He was really positive from his end.”

Maintaining that he was happy to forge partnerships with Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli for the team’s benefit, Rahane said if not impossible, stroke-making was not easy on the pitch.

About his below-par performances in the previous matches, Rahane said, “In the first two matches, I was looking to play shots initially and that’s why I got out. Sanjay Bangar and Ravi Shastri said ‘you just have to take your time initially.’

Here I just wanted to take time and play as close to my body (as possible) and wait for the loose balls. Determination and patience helped me in this innings.”

Asked about his response to the observations made by one-day captain M. S. Dhoni on his batting in the sub-continent, Rahane said, “Before this innings, one good session in Nagpur, two good sessions in Delhi and a good chat with the team management (helped)... I never think about what others are saying but I take their opinion, look to improve and move forward.”

Rahane praised the Indian bowlers, including the pace pair of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, for bowling in the right areas and restrict South Africa to 121.

Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara, who was hit on his hand while fielding at one of the close-in positions, had an X-ray as a precautionary measure.