Ajinkya Rahane has claimed that he is confident that he can perform at the No.4 position in the limited-overs format stating that he knows how to build his innings at the position. The Mumbai batsman also cleared that when his team needed he is ready to give his best and to perform at any position.
After being benched for the first two Tests of the series, Rahane got a chance in the final game where he scored an impressive 48 runs, on a difficult wicket, in the second innings and he tried to continue the momentum in the limited-overs format by scoring 79 runs off 86 balls in the first ODI. In his last five ODI game playing at No. 4, Rahane has scored 45, 87, 89, 50, and 79 respectively.
I know how to build my innings at No. 4
Ajinkya Rahane, on his No. 4 stint in ODIs
"I am better equipped, I am more mature now, I know how to build my innings at No. 4," Rahane said ahead of the second ODI as quoted by PTI.
"Yes I enjoy batting at top two positions but when you represent your country and you get a chance to bat at whatever number you just want to give your best for the team.”
Rahane had been called a reserve opener for the side and after the team management tried a number of batsmen at that position, Rahane finally got his chance as well. He proved the management's latest call right by scoring a half-century in the first ODI while batting two down. In Durban, a 189-run stand for the third-wicket between Kohli and Rahane helped the visitors to win by six wickets. Kohli’s 33rd ODI century ensured that the team was easily able to chase the target of 270 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the six-match ODI series.
"When I went into bat [in Durban], my first thought was to build a partnership and rotating the strike. We knew they have a very good bowling attack. Especially [Kagiso] Rabada is their main bowler and Imran Tahir in the middle is a wicket-taker. We targetted a few bowlers, we'll go after them. But mindset was to rotate the strike and keep the run-rate level. Last 10 overs we didn't want to chase too many runs," Rahane added.
After losing the first two Tests, India successfully avoided the whitewash against South Africa by winning a crucial game in Johannesburg. A 63-run victory on a dangerous pitch of Wanderers definitely boosted the morale of the players which they transformed into a 50-over format and managed to win their first-ever win in Durban.
Keeping an eye on the 2019 World Cup, the Indian side had already started to search their perfect playing XI and in that process, the team faced trouble in picking a regular batsman for No. 4 spot but Rahane’s innings in the first ODI solved team’s problem.
"Batting at No. 4 is different. The confidence which came from last Test win at Johannesburg, I got 48 so confidence came from there. But I was actually determined to do well at No. 4 because I batted at that number in 2015 World Cup and few other series as well. Here the situation was completely different. We were chasing 270 and we knew that it was a par score on that wicket. Our bowlers did a really good job. Personally batting at No. 4, I really enjoyed and I am looking forward to doing even better."