Ajinkya Rahane is a part of the young brigade of Indian cricketers who are perennial hungry to score more runs. This adroit batsman from Mumbai unleashed hell for the opposition teams during IPL 5 this year.
You have been one of the most prolific scorers in domestic cricket. Do you think you deserve a shot in the Test team?
My job is to play good cricket and do good. Selections are not in my hand therefore I can’t comment on that part.
How disappointed were you when you were not included in the World T20 squad this year?
Well, I don’t have any control on the selections and I was pretty fine with it. Every sportsman loves to represent their country and so do I. Whenever I will be given that opportunity, I will be ready for it.
I just focus on my game and keep trying to improve every aspect of it. I try to turn setbacks into comebacks.
You have not been seen as someone who could make such a big impact in T20, but in IPL 5, you scored 560 runs at a strike rate of 129.33. How satisfying was it to perform so well?
I think that’s the best thing being me. I am never satisfied when it comes to my performances. I still think I could have done better as I didn’t play my best towards the end. However, yes, the whole tournament was a good experience.
What adjustments do you make to switch from the longer format to the shorter ones?
I think as a player you need to be flexible so that you can adopt to all the three forms of the game. I kept my game simple and was more attacking.
People seem to blame the IPL for everything that goes wrong with Indian cricket. Do you agree that IPL does more harm than good, at least to the Test fortunes of the country?
Well, I don’t know about that but if we were to see IPL from a purely cricket perspective, it’s a great platform for youngsters.
Has the experience of playing for the Rajasthan Royals helped you become a better cricketer?
Yes, definitely. I have learned so much and the experience I got is incredible.
What difference did Shane Warne bring to the team in terms of team culture and spirit? How different a captain is Dravid from Warne?
Both Dravid and Warne are legends. They both have given so much to cricket that I consider myself to be very lucky to have played under both of them. Shane is a very instinct based captain and will come out with totally out of the box things. Dravid on the other hand, likes to keep it simple on the field.
Which international cricketer has helped you the most during the IPL phase?
Shane Watson has helped me a lot. Even before I started playing for RR, he was very supportive.
Being a batsman from Mumbai, you have a huge legacy to live up to. Does that help you or put extra pressure on you?
No it doesn’t add pressure. In fact, it encourages me to perform even better and play good cricket since we have had some great cricketers from Mumbai.
You’re now the vice captain of the Mumbai team. Are you enjoying this new responsibility?
Yes I am loving it. It’s a proud feeling to be a Vice Captain and for the first few matches all the players will be there including Sachin, so I am really looking forward to it.
Facing the chin music has been one of the biggest problems for most young Indian batsmen. How comfortable are you handling the short ball?
I practised a lot with the white rubber ball on cement. I think I can handle them well now.
Which batting position are you most comfortable with – opening for the team or batting down the order?
I can bat on any position given to me. As a player, it’s what I work hard for, to deliver my best and therefore positions have never been a problem for me.
What kind of food do you enjoy eating the most?
I love everything cooked by my mom. I am a big foodie otherwise.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
It has to be when I got my first call to play for India. I was just sitting at my home watching a movie when I got a call congratulating me that I have been selected to play for Indian team. It took five minutes for me to believe it when the phones started ringing and I saw it in the news. I told my mom and she was in tears. My dream had come true.
Describe a typical day in the life of Ajinkya Rahane.
When not playing cricket, I like reading books and autobiographies and listen to music.
Which sports do you follow as a fan? Who is your favourite non-cricketing sports personality?
I like tennis. It has to be Roger Federer.
Where do you see yourself being 5 years from now?
I don’t like to think of future. I like to enjoy present. As of now, I am enjoying what I love the most – Cricket.