Ajinkya Rahane is a core member of the Indian cricket team and has clarified that he has never shirked his responsibilities when it comes to the team, even if it meant being the 12th man in ODIs. He also revealed that he has a few plans for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour which starts from July 26.
It's never easy for a player to be captaining the side in March and carry drinks for the rest of the team in June, but Rahane's dedication to the Indian cricket team has never let his ego get in the way of his responsibilities.
The Mumbaikar was the captain during India’s final Test against Australia at Dharamsala in the absence of the injured Virat Kohli and did a commendable job as he led the side to a win, which helped India clinch the series 2-1. But, in the Champions Trophy, India's next major tournament, he did not get the opportunity to play a single match, instead, he performed the duties of a 12th man.
"If I am the vice-captain of the Test team, it does not mean that I will not be performing my duties as a 12th man in ODIs. The moment you are representing your country, you are supposed to do whatever you are assigned. When I was carrying drinks during the Champions Trophy, I had no ego issues. That's how I am as a person," Rahane told PTI during an interview on Friday.
Upon being given a chance in the recently concluded series against West Indies, Rahane scored 336 in five ODIs at an average of 67.20 and deservedly was adjudged the Man of the Series for his efforts. Speaking of his own performance the 29-year-old said, "West Indies was a special series for me simply for the consistency that I was able to show. This series is an important one for my ODI career and getting runs in almost all the matches was a really satisfying feeling. I got opportunity to show a different side to my batting and express myself differently."
Despite giving a good account of himself at every given opportunity Rahane has had to wait for his turns owing to the stiff competition for places in the side. For West Indies tour, for instance, he was afforded a chance only because of Rohit Sharma being rested for the tournament, but once again, he proved his worth. However, Rahane sees his competition in a positive way as it gives India more options to finalise their playing XI.
"This is a great phase in Indian cricket where we have so many top quality players competing for a place in the Indian team. It's always good to have competition. As far as I am concerned, I have never ever been insecured in my life."
After finishing the West Indies series on a high, Rahane is now looking forward to the upcoming Sri Lanka tour as he hopes to continue his good performances with the bat, but he is not compromising with his practice either. "I have a few plans for the series and I am working towards it. Obviously, you don't reveal your strategy. Also, the Zimbabwe series will not be an indicator that Sri Lanka will be an easy prey for the Indian team. They have some quality players and as opposition, we need to respect them," he concluded.