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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 15 February 2014 - 02:23pm IST

Rahane pays gratitude to role models

Batsman thanks Dravid and Tendulkar after scoring his maiden Test ton

After missing the landmark by a whisker in South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane finally scored his maiden Test century, at Wellington. Having helped India to a 246-run first-innings lead in the second Test against New Zealand with a 118-run knock, Rahane took the opportunity to thank Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar for being his guiding stars.

"Rahul Dravid is my role model and I have been following him since childhood,” Rahane said. “I have played with him in the Indian team and with Rajasthan Royals, and so I really learnt a lot from him both on and off the field. I just want to thank Rahul bhai.

"I also want to thank Sachin (Tendulkar) paaji because during his last two Test matches, he told me about my batting. He said, 'I have been following you, and your hard work and your fitness. Just be patient and wait for your chance.' Thanks to both of them," Rahane said.
The 25-year-old was at a loss for words when expressing his joy at scoring his maiden Test ton.

"I don't know how to express my feelings. A Test hundred is always special, but I will remember this first hundred for a long time. It's a very special hundred for me, but tomorrow is also a crucial day for us and hopefully the bowlers will do their job.”

Describing how he went about his knock, Rahane said, "Initially when I went in to bat, I just wanted to take my time to settle down and just wanted to play my game. I was looking to do whatever I have been doing in domestic cricket and continue the same way. I am really happy that I got a hundred here.”

Rahane’s previous attempt to a Test hundred fell short by four runs, in South Africa in Durban. This time, he was determined to get past the milestone despite having to bat with the tailenders once again.

"In South Africa, when I got 96, I wanted to get that hundred because a first Test hundred is really special. I know how crucial four runs can be, because a hundred is a hundred. When you get out for 96, it still counts as a fifty.

"This time I wasn't thinking about my hundred and just wanted to play one ball at a time. I wanted to play in the present and not think about what is going to happen. I told Zaheer (Khan) to play his normal game and that I wasn't thinking of my hundred.

"I was trying to take as much strike as possible, play four-five deliveries and rotate strike off the last ball. That helped me because I was willing to back my ability and back my shots," he said.

Rahane credited MS Dhoni for encouraging him in the middle during their 120-run stand for the seventh wicket.

"His innings gave me a lot of confidence because I have batted with him earlier too, in South Africa as well. He just told me to back myself and play my shots, to play one ball at a time and don't think too much about what's happening at the other end. That really helped me a lot and gave me good confidence," said the centurion.

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