What's the story?
India's middle order mainstay in Tests, Ajinkya Rahane stated that India have plans in place for "every single Australian cricketer". He, however, added that he was not going to reveal them whilst also going on to dismiss Australia's sledging tactics as something India aren't too bothered about.
“We don’t know if they’re going to sledge but we have a plan for all of them, which obviously we won’t be revealing here,” Ajinkya Rahane was reported to have stated in The Hindustan Times. “Whether it’s skill-wise or sledging-wise, we can’t reveal that, but trust me, we have a plan for every one of them. They’re known to play mind games so let them do what they want to… Our only objective is to dominate in every section of the game.”
The Mumbai batsman mentioned that India should concentrate on playing to their strengths rather than worry about Australia's bowling attack or team composition. He stressed that India would try to play positive cricket against the Australian bowlers.
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Steven Smith had publically given his team license to sledge on the field of required although his deputy, David Warner, was not in agreement to the idea, especially against someone like Virat Kohli, who thrives when sledged.
Rahane pushed aside Australia's plans to sledge and instead pointed out that India need to worry about their game plan alone. Picked ahead of the triple centurion, Karun Nair, Rahane had made a fighting 82 against Bangladesh last week.
The heart of the matter
Ajinkya Rahane revealed to the media that India have specific plans against each Australian player and that the visitors tactic to sledge their way out in India isn't a concern for them.
Having hit a fine half-century in preparation for this series against the Bangladeshis, Rahane is confident that he can continue the good form. He admitted that Australia will pose a stiffer challenge than Bangladesh did and pointed out that if India can win the first Test it will help them carry forward some momentum right through the series.
"For us, it will be important to play to our potential. As a team, we’re really doing well at the moment. I’m confident playing Australia and momentum will be the key. If we play well in the first game, I guess we’ll be able to carry that momentum forward," Rahane said in his interaction with the media at the NCA stadium.
The MCA stadium in Pune is set to host a Test match for the first time. It joins the likes of Ranchi and Dharamshala as venues hosting a Test for the first time in their history.
Australia have a horrifying record in the sub-continent in recent times and the Indian tour presents them with their toughest challenge yet. They performed well in the warm-up game against India A but facing Ashwin and Jadeja is an altogether different proposition.
Rahane wisely pushed aside Australia's loose talk before the series and instead stressed that India were focussed on the task in front of them. If India play to their potential as the Mumbai player stated, Australia will struggle to create any impact in the series.