Chennai: As captain, he was at the forefront of India’s epic triumph in Australia, but Ajinkya Rahane would prefer to take a back seat while lending a helping hand to the returning Virat Kohli in the high-octane Test series against England.
Rahane, who led India to their greatest overseas Test series victory in Australia recently, also said that there is no room for complacency against a quality side like England in the series, starting here on Friday.
The upcoming matches will decide New Zealand’s opposition in the World Test Championship final at Lord’s in June.
“My job is to take a back seat and help Virat. My job is really easy now. When Virat asks me about anything, I will tell him. Virat was the captain and he came back for family reasons. So I was the captain in Australia,” Rahane said during a virtual media conference on Wednesday.
The senior batsman also said that the Australian series win for him is a thing of past.
“Australia is past. We are in present. We respect the England side which has won a Test series in Sri Lanka. We want to play good brand of cricket and we are not taking anything for granted,” said Rahane.
He didn’t want to dwell on India being favourites to reach the final of WTC.
“The WTC final is three-four (five) months from now. The focus should be on present series. New Zealand played really well and deserved to be in the final. For us, it will be about taking one game at a time.”
While he didn’t spell out anything about team combination, the vice-captain did drop a hint that Chepauk will be a spinner-friendly surface.
“We will decide on the playing combination after tomorrow’s training,” he said when asked if left-arm orthodox spinner Axar Patel will be handed a Test debut.
“The Indian wickets always have something for spinners. We will back our strength. Let’s wait and see,” he said.
Meanwhile, India’s Test vice-captain Rahane on Wednesday hit the nets ahead of the upcoming four-match Test series against England, here on Wednesday.
Rahane shared a video on Twitter, in which he can be seen batting against net bowlers Saurabh Kumar and K Gowtham.
“Back to training,” Rahane wrote as the caption. In the video, Rahane can be seen playing shots both on the back foot and the front foot.
The Virat Kohli-led India squad had their first outdoor training session on Monday ahead of the first Test against England.
Three RT-PCR tests for coronavirus were conducted at regular intervals and all the Indian players were tested negative. The hosts were then cleared to begin their nets sessions from Tuesday as they have completed the six-day quarantine.