India vs Sri Lanka | Focus on remaining No. 1 in Tests, says Ajinkya Rahane

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India vs Sri Lanka | Focus on remaining No. 1 in Tests, says Ajinkya Rahane

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SportsCafe Desk


Ahead of the India-Sri Lanka series Ajinkya Rahane has claimed that they will remain focused on maintaining the No. 1 spot in Tests rankings. India’s Test team vice-captain also added that they will focus on their strengths rather than worrying about Sri Lanka’s combination and strategies.

In their visit to Sri Lanka this year, Indian handed the island nation a  9-0 drubbing across all the formats. Now, they are gearing up to repeat the performance yet again on their Indian turf. However, Rahane has emphasized that India aren't taking Sri Lanka lightly at all. 

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of their training at the Eden, Rahane was quoted by PTI saying, "This series is completely different compared to what we played in Sri Lanka. We are not taking Sri Lanka lightly even as we had a good series there. Right now if we want to remain as number one in Tests. Every series is very important. We want to win each and every series. We know the conditions here."

After the home series against Sri Lanka, India will visit South Africa, where will play three Tests, six ODIs, and three T20Is between January-February. Though India have hardly found success in the longest format, Rahane has stated that the side is not worried about the overseas tour at the moment.

"For us, each and every match and series is important before going to South Africa. We will think of South Africa when we go there. Right now we are focusing on this series. South Africa will be completely different.

"Even for Sri Lanka this is a very important series and they are preparing really well. We don't want to take them lightly. We are just focusing on this series right now and the first game in Kolkata. We respect Sri Lanka and we just want to play our game, focus on our strengths rather than thinking about their combination or their strategies," he said.

Since their third and last Test in Sri Lanka, which ended in August 14th, India have been playing back to back limited overs matches, which included series against Australia and New Zealand at home. "Everyone knows how to adapt and adjust to all the formats. I don't think we will have any problem. All the players are professionals. I don't think will have a problem in adjustment. The first Test here is important to get the momentum."

Against Sri Lanka, India will play three ODIs and the same number of T20Is after the three Tests. Ahead of the first Test, Rahane was seen playing a lot of sweep shots including the unorthodox reverse sweep against the spinners.

"It's important to improve your game every day and evolve when you are practising at the nets. I just want to improve. I think if I improve one shot in the nets, I will be better off in the game. If an opportunity comes in the game, I'm 100 percent confident of playing a particular shot. So, practising sweep, reverse sweep and paddle sweep just as options.

"I'm comfortable playing those shots. For me, it's important to give 100 percent at the nets. I want to do that five-six times at the nets and if I'm comfortable and confident I will play that shot in the game," said Rahane.

In the Ranji Trophy’s last two matches, Rahane got out for 49 and 45 against Odisha and Baroda respectively, but he was not too much worry about that. "I'm batting really well. I have four 50s in a row," he said referring to his knocks against Australia in the ODI series in September-October.

"Yes I got out on 45 and 49 in Ranji Trophy but for me. it was important to play as many balls as possible and get the practice for this Test series. Four fifties also matter a lot for the team. In the last (Ranji) game for us in Mumbai at one point it was crucial. I just wanted to play as many balls as possible without being worried about the scores."

All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the upcoming Test series and Rahane thinks it was important to manage the workload.

"Apart from training, it's very important to recover. We focus on our training as well as recovery sessions, massage, ice bath, pool sessions. The team management taking care of all these aspects. In future, they will play many matches so recovery is very important."

"Let's wait for the match to start. We still have two days to go. We have to wait. I've not seen the wicket," Rahane replied when asked if Eden wicket will be a green top. 

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