India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane forms the backbone of the team’s batting line-up and has successfully established himself as one of the best red-ball players. However, just like every other cricket player in India, Rahane also struggled to find his foot in the national team.
In the late 2000s, Rahane was a renowned name in India’s domestic circuit as he scored a truckload of runs while featuring in the domestic tournaments. However, it was only in August 2011 that the right-hander received his maiden call-up to the Indian squad.
While Ajinkya represented India in ODIs and T20Is in 2011, he got a chance to make his debut in the purest format of the game in March 2013. Before making his Test debut, Rahane warmed the bench in the Indian contingent for over a year. Not receiving enough appreciation and acknowledgment for performance in the domestic circuit can disturb any youngster.
However, Rahane wasn’t much affected by the same as he received a piece of golden advice from former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid that kept him motivated throughout. The 33-year-old revealed that during the 2008-09 Duleep Trophy, Rahul Dravid noticed him and called him up for a brief interaction.
Getting that advice from someone like Rahul Bhai really motivated me a lot: Ajinkya Rahane
Dravid praised Ajinkya for his spectacular performance with the willow. However, the former skipper also advised the batsman to just focus on his game and keep performing. Dravid told Rahane to not run after the Indian call-up.
“I remember in a Duleep Trophy final, we were playing against South Zone in 2008-09 and Rahul Dravid was playing in it in Chennai. I got runs in that game – 165 and 98. Rahul Bhai called me up after the game and said, I’ve read about you a lot, you are scoring a lot of runs. As a player, it is very natural that you will start expecting an India call-up. All I would tell you is to keep on doing what you’ve been doing,” Rahane told ESPN Cricinfo.
“You keep focussing on that and India call-up will come automatically. Don’t run after it, it will follow you. Getting that advice from someone like Rahul Bhai really motivated me a lot. That inspired me a lot. He has seen a lot of ups and downs. I got another thousand runs next season and two years after that, I was selected,” Rahane signed off.