Ajinkya Rahane led India in absence of injured Virat Kohli in Dharamsala. (Source: PTI)
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has seen Virat Kohli’s evolution from being a junior cricketer to breaking into the Indian team and becoming the captain. “As a player, it’s so fantastic to see him get better each day and be amazingly consistent. Everyone is learning from him and his level of consistency. Perhaps the best is his passion for the game,” Rahane said in an interview with NDTV.
Rahane is part of the squad that Kohli will lead in South Africa. The tour starts on January 5, 2018 and consists of three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is. India go to South Africa with their confidence sky high, having bamboozled a succession of teams that have toured the country in all formats of the game. But India have been known to struggle in bilateral series away from home and hence, this series is being seen as the first true test of Kohli as a full time captain. Rahane, though, expressed confidence that India would be doing well despite the fact that they won’t be playing a single practice match before the first Test. “The good thing about this is we got good quality of (net) bowlers,” he said, “Since they have done well in domestic cricket, it’s better to face them. Sometimes what happens in overseas practice games is that we get flat wickets and ordinary bowlers. That does not help in preparations. It’s a good decision the management has taken. We are going to have some good net sessions and that will be quality practice. If you prepare well that actually matters in the Test cricket.”
Rahane averages an enviable 48 in ODI cricket in 2017 but has never been a first choice player due to the presence of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the opening slots. “I have the experience of playing on every number. However lately whatever ODIs have been played, I have opened the innings and team management has decided that I am going to be an opener. So it’s all about giving my best in that position. I am confident of doing well in any position whenever I get an opportunity,” he said.