‘Keep it simple’ – Ajinkya Rahane’s message to Rishabh Pant ahead of 1st Test
Rahane believes the youngster Pant should be ready for the challenge.
Updated - Feb 20, 2020 2:50 pm
The two-match Test series between India and New Zealand is set to begin from the 21st of February. India will look to salve their pride after a difficult ODI series whitewash. In the absence of Rohit Sharma through injury, the onus will be on the senior players like skipper Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Virat’s deputy Rahane had some fond memories of the venue Basin Reserve. The Mumbaikar scored an impressive 114 at the venue back in 2014. He fondly remembers the innings along with the challenges he had to face through that innings. Wellington is known for its windy condition and the ground itself is quite different from sub-continent grounds with very few brick blocks allowing the wind to play its part in the games.
Jinx recollected how he had to lower his bat lift to adjust to conditions last time around. The middle-order batsman said as quoted by Sportstar, “That was a really special moment for me. I remember that my backlift was changing because of the wind and that was a challenge to control my backlift. There were times when I had to shorten my backlift. Sometimes you’ve got to play with low backlift and, maybe, you have got to change your guard and play accordingly.”
The wind also possesses a big challenge for the bowlers to bowl and Rahane believes that no bowler would like to bowl in such conditions. But however, he insists on the fact that one has to do what his team asks him to do. He also suggested the openers to go out there and play their natural game without thinking too much about the conditions as they would get opportunities later on as the pitch eases out after the initial threats.
Focus on the controllables: Ajinkya Rahane to Rishabh Pant
Another decision for the Indian team management to take is whether Rishabh Pant should be given a chance over regular red-ball keeper Wriddhiman Saha or not. But as far as the reports are concerned, the Bengal player is more likely to be trusted with the gloves as Pant is set to watch another match from the sidelines.
However, Rahane believes the youngster should be ready for the challenge. The 31-year-old said, “He bats at No 6 or 7, so he has to keep visualizing about it if he got an opportunity. Keep it simple, focus on the controllables.” He also neglected the disadvantages of playing in the overseas conditions and insisted the expectations have grown since the Australia series victory.
India do not have a good record in New Zealand. They have won only two series from their last nine tours since 1967-68. They will look to improve their record and would not need to look too far beyond for inspiration as they did manage to beat the Kiwis under MS Dhoni’s leadership a few years back.