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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 06 March 2014 - 10:57am IST

I think No.4 is a challenging position: Rahane

India batsman also talks about his stint as opener in Asia Cup 2014

India bid adieu to the Asia Cup 2013-14 with an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan. Ravindra Jadeja dismantled the top order and was complemented by the rest of the attack while bowling the opposition out for a paltry total. Ajinkya Rahane, who has been contributing valuable runs in the middle order, then came out to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan and propelled the team to victory. The youngster, who has impressed with his batting in recent outings, scored 56 during the chase.

Speaking about his innings, he said, “It is always a good feeling when you score runs, but obviously we are disappointed that we have not qualified for the final. But overall, we had two close matches so the credit should go to the bowlers, because it is not easy to bowl in conditions with dew. But the way the spinners and the fast bowlers bowled was good.”

Rahane, who has opened earlier in his career and continues to open on occasions in other formats in domestic matches, has been batting for the national side in the middle order. While talking opening in ODIs in place of Rohit Sharma, he explained, “Opening the innings was not my decision. It was the management’s decision - the captain and the coach. But I am happy that I went and scored runs.”

Discussing the difference between opening the innings and batting at No.4, he said, “In this innings I opened, earlier in the New Zealand tour, I batted at No.4, and did so in the first three games also. The No.4 position is slightly challenging. It is a new role for me. I am learning at No.4. Today was not my decision. The coach and captain wanted me to open. I am happy that I got 56 and got a few runs for the team. Obviously, we played good cricket, especially Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled well and so did Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.”

Elaborating on the challenges of batting at No.4 and opening, he mentioned, “As an opener you get the first 10 overs of the new ball. I like my instinct and play my shots. At No.4, it depends on situation, whether it is 30 for two or 150 for two when you come in to bat. There are different situations if I bat at No.4. It is very crucial as you have to rotate the strike and play your shots, back your instincts. I think No.4 is a challenging position.”
Asked about his preferred batting position he said, “In T20 and domestic cricket I have opened.”

“This is not in my hands. Frankly speaking, it is up to the team management where they want me to bat,” he reiterated and added, “I am happy that I am batting at No.4. I am learning a lot and it is a new role for me. Also, (I am) looking to the T20 World Cup, really looking (forward) to the challenge.”

While talking about the back-to-back recent series defeats and forthcoming World T20, he said, “We are looking forward to T20 World Cup. We learnt a lot from this Asia Cup, New Zealand and South Africa tours. As a team we learnt, but obviously we did not win. As a young team, we are approaching the game very well. The attitude is good. That’s what matters in cricket. As team members, our boys are putting in the effort.”

Asked about Virat Kohli’s captaincy and MS Dhoni’s leadership, the young batsman said, “Playing under Virat is also a good experience. He is also doing a good job in all the formats of the game. He is also learning a lot from Dhoni Bhai. He handled the team very well, but we missed Dhoni Bhai for this tournament because he is an experienced captain.”