India v/s New Zealand: Team India looking to be aggressive in ODIs, asserts Ajinkya Rahane
Dharamsala , Oct 14: “Aggressive intent” was the key behind India’s overwhelming success against New Zealand in the Test series and the hosts aim to continue playing the same brand of cricket in the upcoming five-match ODI series, middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane said on Friday.
India whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 in the just-concluded Test series to claim the numero uno position in the ICC Test rankings and Rahane credits the success to aggressive intent.
“I think discipline will be the key. The kind of cricket we played in the Test series, our intent was aggressive all the time. So here again our intent will be aggressive, play intensive cricket and play to our strength rather than focusing on the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses,” Rahane told reporters at the HPCA stadium.
He also said that gaining the momentum early on will be key in deciding the fate of the five-match series, which starts with the first ODI in Dharamsala on Sunday. “I am really looking forward to the One-Day series, especially after the Test series. But again it is important to start afresh here. Momentum will be the key. Winning the first match will be very important to be in that momentum,” said the Mumbaikar, who is the vice-captain of the Test side.
Asked how difficult it is for a cricketer to make adjustments from one format to the other in a short span of time, Rahane said: “I believe its completely a mental adjustment because as a professional cricketer it is important for us to adjust to any format. It is important how we adjust mentally. Getting used to the conditions will be a big factor and we are actually experienced in that. So we don’t think too much about the change in formats. It’s all about how you deal with certain situations and factors. Mental adjustment will be key in ODIs,” he said.
India have rested three senior cricketers in Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami and Ravindra Jadeja from the series, keeping in mind the long season ahead. With an aim to broaden the bench strength, the new selection committee, headed by MSK Prasad, have included a few youngsters — Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mandeep Singh and Manish Pandey — in the squad.
Rahane feels it is a welcome move by the selectors to give new guys an opportunity at the highest level. “I am really excited about the new guys coming into the team. It’s really energising, everyone is looking in good shape. The guys have done pretty well in the India A series and a few guys did well in the Ranji Trophy matches. It’s all about giving the new guys confidence and opportunity at the highest level,” he said.
Rahane also refused to think too far ahead and preferred to concentrate on the task at hand. “As of now it is important for us to focus on this series rather than thinking about the Champions Trophy. It’s still a long way to go for the Champions Trophy. We will play one match at a time,” he said.
Talking about his new role as vice-captain of the Test side, Rahane said he relishes the responsibility of being Virat Kohli’s deputy. “I don’t believe in seniority or juniority. It’s all about learning at every step and giving inputs. I really learnt a lot as vice-captain.
“On the field it is important for you to stay alert all the time because there are plenty of things going on in a captain’s mind. So as a vice-captain it is important to stay alert all the time and whatever inputs you have you pass it on to your captain,” he concluded.