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IND vs ENG | ‘Fully fit’ Ajinkya Rahane raring to go for England Tests

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Rahane confirmed that he is 'fully fit' ahead of the first Test

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IND vs ENG | ‘Fully fit’ Ajinkya Rahane raring to go for England Tests

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SportsCafe Desk

08/02/2021

Indian Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane addressed the media ahead of the first Test and spoke about a host of topics, including his own fitness. Below are the key excerpts from the press conference.

On his fitness…

I had a small niggle but I’m fully fit now. Whatever the physios and trainers asked me to do, I completed that in the training sessions. I’m looking forward to the Test match. I’m fully prepared. Preparation has been really good so far for me. Even though I didn’t play the warm-up game, I was practising on the sidelines. I had a couple of good practice sessions. Completely ready and fit to play.

On the prospect of Pujara opening the batting…

Pujara is our #3 batsman. We are finalizing who will open the batting (alongside Rohit), it has not been finalized yet. Pujara has been really solid for us as a #3 batsman, so he will continue batting at #3. But as an opening pair, obviously the captain, coach and the management will decide the combination.

On India's tail woes and the prospect of playing just 4 bowlers to shorten the tail...

The good thing about our fast bowlers is that they are working hard on their batting. When we came here, after the WTC Final, we started our practice. The fast bowlers were eager to bat in the nets every day and they were asking the batting coach. They spent 10-15 mins in the nets every day, which is a very good sign. Out of India when you have to win a Test match, you have to play a certain combination. We are not too concerned about playing 4 or 5 bowlers. We'll have to assess the wicket tomorrow and then see what combination we can go with. But we’re not too fussed or worried about the combination. 

On the availability of the players in the squad…

Only Mayank Agarwal is doubtful. He got hit on the helmet today. Our physios and medical team are assessing him. Apart from him, all players are available.

On whether the upcoming tour will be India’s ‘best chance’ to win in England…

When you play away from home, there’s always a challenge, regardless of where you play. It’s about putting our best foot forward and getting used to the conditions quickly. I thought in 2018 we played very good cricket but the results didn’t go our way. We want to focus on our own game. Rather than focusing on the series, we will be focusing on one game at a time and try and give our best. It’s all about giving your best in every single game and not thinking about the series.

On the ‘lush green’ nature of the Trent Bridge wicket…

We expect England to give us such kind of wickets, it’s their home conditions and we are not going to think too much about it. It’s all about playing good cricket. It’s the same wicket for all 22 players. We’re not too worried about what kind of wickets they are giving us. We are prepared for it. 

On India’s batting strategy…

We sat together and discussed our batting plans. In England, it’s challenging conditions for the batsmen. Everyone has their own plans and we back every individual to back their own game, rather than focusing too much on technique or anything else. As a group, communication will be key as a batting unit, but individually everyone should back their own methods in England. Because the conditions changes quickly - within 15/20 minutes sometimes it gets overcast. It is about getting used to the conditions and backing your own methods.  

On mental fatigue and Ben Stokes’ decision to take an indefinite break...

The bubble is really challenging from a player’s point of view. What Ben Stokes did, it was his call. When you want to play at the highest level, you want to give your best, and so your mental health matters a lot. So we respect his decision. I’m sure his teammates also respect his decision. You have to understand what a player is going through. We respect his decision. Bubble life is tough and challenging.

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