As India embarks on the World Cup campaign, India’s senior Test batsman, Ajinkya Rahane, will also be flying to England. The Mumbai batsman has not been considered for the marquee event. He has instead taken up the English county stint and will ply his trade for Hampshire.
Speaking about his World Cup snub and county adventure, Rahane said, “I always try to control things rather than thinking about consequences. I always prefer to stay in the present. What is important for me is to play well for Hampshire County. It is my first stint with Hampshire and I am really excited.”
The middle-order batsman did not deny his aspirations of playing in the mega event. He added, “Every player wants to represent their country at the World Cup, and my dream is also to represent my country and play in the World Cup. But right now my focus is completely on the county stint and I am looking forward to do well for Hampshire and learn many more things. I had a phone conversation with Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) and he told me that he actually learnt a lot playing county cricket. It’s completely a new experience.”
“I had played a couple of Test series over there (England) in 2014 and last summer, so I know English conditions pretty well. But in county (cricket) you get to learn so many things from your teammates, the culture is different and as an overseas player there will be responsibility. So, it’s all about being positive,” Rahane explained.
“I am now looking forward to change to red ball cricket from white ball because after that we are going to West Indies for a Test series. So my focus is on playing good cricket and staying positive.”
Speaking about Indian team’s chances at the World Cup, Rahane commented, “Overall, our team is pretty strong. Our overall package is very good. This time the World Cup will be played in a new format, we will play nine league games, so momentum and consistency will be important.”
“Our overall attack, both pace and spin, is very experienced. The good thing is that all the bowlers in our team are wicket-takers and the team which has wicket-taking bowlers, their chances increase,” he said.
Apart from the favorites India and England, Rahane backed the dark horses like New Zealand and West Indies to come good. “I don’t believe in pinpointing any particular team, but England is a good team. New Zealand have done well in ICC tournaments and West Indies is an unpredictable side. They can beat any team on their day,” he said.
There have been a lot of speculations around Virat Kohli’s captaincy. Adding his inputs, Rahane said, “Virat is a very good leader. Everyone has different qualities. Mahi bhai (Dhoni) has different quality of leadership and Virat will definitely get good support and guidance from him. He is such a senior player and being the wicketkeeper he can set the entire field and guide the bowlers on what length and line to bowl.”