India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane asserted that his solitary goal is to contribute to the side in every little way he can and insisted that, come the final, all that will matter is how he fares, with the past having no significance. Rahane further claimed that he is someone who feeds off criticism.
Prior to every big away Test tour, Ajinkya Rahane is earmarked as one of the potential match-winners and the reason for the same is the incredible CV the Indian vice-captain possesses. Remarkably the 33-year-old boasts an away average of 44.44 - 8 more than his home average of 36 - and he is someone who, in the past, has shown that he can excel in the toughest of conditions. The right-hander has posted 90+ scores in all SENA countries (centuries in all SENA nations except South Africa, where he’s scored 96) and he incidentally has posted 3 fifties in his last 4 innings in Southampton, the venue for the coveted WTC Final.
However, according to the Indian vice captain, none of those records will matter come the WTC final. Rahane is currently the highest run-getter for India in the ongoing WTC cycle, but speaking in a virtual press conference ahead of the final, the 33-year-old insisted that, come the final, what will matter is how he adapts on the day.
"I like to be in the present. I've been at this venue many times now, played for Hampshire also. Yes I know the conditions but what is important is to be in the moment, be in the present and adjust to the conditions on that particular day. Being the highest run-scorer doesn't matter now. Whatever happened, that was past,” Rahane said on Wednesday.
Since making his debut, Rahane has earnt the reputation of being a team man, and the 33-year-old stressed that team success - and not personal glory - is all that matters for him come the final. The 33-year-old has had an underwhelming start to 2021, averaging a mere 19.90 in 6 Tests.
"I'll be playing my natural game. Doesn't bother me much, what my record is in England as long as I'm contributing to my team. For me, winning is more important - whether I score 100 or score less ... Even if I score 30-40 runs, if those 30-40 runs are valuable, I'm happy. It's all about the team, it's all about contribution, so I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."
Rahane is currently into his eighth year of Test cricket, and is arguably the second-most important batsman for the country behind the skipper himself, but the 33-year-old hasn’t been devoid of criticism. The Mumbaikar has often come under fire for his inconsistency, and though he has the tendency to play clutch knocks every now and then, the overall lack of consistency has rubbed many the wrong way.
The vice-captain, though, stressed that he is unflustered by the criticism. Rahane claimed that his solitary focus is to give his 100% for the country, and added that he is someone who feeds off criticism.
"It feels special [to be the leading run-scorer]. I'm happy to take criticism. I feel because of the criticism, I'm here," Rahane said.
"I always want to give my best, whether people criticise me or not. For me what is important is to give my best for my team, my country and contribute, each and every time. Be it as a batter or as a fielder. I don't really think about criticism. If people criticise me, that's their thing and that's their job. I cannot control these things. I always focus on the controllables, putting my best foot forward and following my process. And the result follows."