Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21: Ajinkya Rahane not bothered mind games, backs his side for success
India is all set to take on Australia in the Boxing Day Test, in Melbourne, from Saturday, to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India is coming off a defeat in the opening day-night Test, in Adelaide. India would be without skipper Virat Kohli, with Ajinkya Rahane replacing him.
The bashing in the opening day-night Adelaide Test that India received is sure to play at the back of its mind, as it takes on Australia in the Boxing Day Test, in Melbourne, from Saturday. India faces a daunting task ahead, as it looks to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, successfully.
Meanwhile, India would also be missing out on regular skipper Virat Kohli's services, who has flown back to India on paternity leave. As Ajinkya Rahane takes up the reins, he faces a challenging task to help India bounce back, amidst the mind games being played by Australia.
Nonetheless, on being asked about the same during the pre-match press conference, Rahane was unmoved by Australia's tactics, as he feels, "Australians are very good at playing mind games and I will let them do that. We are focussing on ourselves, what we want to do as a unit and we are going to back our every individual."
Speaking on the captaincy, he said, "It is a proud moment for me leading India. Obviously, it is a great opportunity, responsibility as well, but I don't want to take any pressure. I think what I want to do is back my team. So, focus is not on me, it is all about team and how we want to do well as a team. We are focussing on that."
"Virat spoke to all of us, before leaving. We had our team dinner in Adelaide, so he spoke to all of us about staying in the moment, playing for each other and yeah, enjoying each other's success and help each other out on the field," added Rahane.
Nonetheless, Rahane backed his side by saying that just an hour of poor cricket does not mean the side is incompetent. "Talking about last Test match, see comparatively we had two good days, just one bad hour, where we actually lost it completely. The chat was all about backing ourself as an individual and as team, play to our strengths and whatever we have planned in the first Test match just stick to that," he said.
India has never won a Boxing Day Test, but is unbeaten in Melbourne since 2011. Speaking on the same Rahane reckoned, "See, generally, MCG is ... 2018 was slightly different wicket, but generally, when we played here in 2014 and the other teams, when they played here, it is actually a very good wicket, plays really well. Tomorrow will be different. We don't know that, we have to go and see and adapt to the wicket as quick as possible."
Speaking on the team composition for Melbourne, Rahane said, "See, openers role, not only in Australia, but everywhere is really crucial, I don't want to put any pressure on our openers, just want to give them freedom to play their game.... when you get that partnership going, when you get that foundation, then it becomes really easy for coming batsmen."
"Apart from Jasprit, Umesh (Yadav) and the guy (Siraj) who will play instead of (Mohammed) Shami tomorrow, they are also equally talented. Umesh has been doing really well for so many years, so it is all about bowling in partnerships for us. We have to back our basics, back our plans, as I said earlier, we just had one bad hour, so it is all about staying positive, backing your own ability and batting in partnerships," he concluded.