London, June 3 : Ahead of India’s clash against Australia in the World Test Championship final at The Oval from June 7-11, veteran middle-order batter Ajinkya Rahane said coming back to the Indian Test team after a gap of 18-19 months has been very special for him.
“Even before the IPL, I had a good domestic season.Batting-wise, I felt really good.Coming into Test cricket now, after a long time.Firstly, really happy to be back after 18-19 months.It’s something which is really special for me.”
“I just want to keep continuing my batting form.I don’t want to think too much about formats whether T20 or Test cricket.
The way I am batting right now, I don’t want to complicate things, the more I keep it simple, the better, so I just want to keep it simple and enjoy my batting,” said Rahane in a video on bcci.tv.
Rahane last played a Test for India in January 2022 on the tour of South Africa an was subsequently dropped post a lean run of form.He returned to the domestic cricket grind, starting with the Duleep Trophy in September 2022, making 250 runs in five innings, including an unbeaten 207 for West Zone.
In the Ranji Trophy, Rahane was Mumbai’s leading run-scorer with 634 runs from seven matches, including a double-century against Hyderabad, and 191 against Assam, at an average of 57.63.
“It was an emotional moment for me coming back after 18-19 months.When I got dropped, the support from my family was really important and massive.The dream was still to play for India and said to my family that it matters a lot for me.”
“I worked hard on my fitness, my batting and went back to domestic cricket (and worked on) my game plan and everything, had a good domestic season for Mumbai and when I got the call, the moment was very emotional for me.”
“I just want to keep my mindset positive, keep whatever intent I had before coming here in T20 and Ranji Trophy going.I’ll try and keep it as simple as possible and just try and be in the moment,” he explained on what was his mindset when being out of Test team.
With injuries to KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer ruling them out of WTC final, it paved the way for Rahane’s return to the Test team.He was a vital cog in the wheel for Chennai Super Kings winning IPL 2023, making 326 runs at a strike-rate of 172.49, including a stunning 19-ball against Mumbai Indians.
“When I went back to domestic cricket, for me the dream was still to play for India and that kept me going every time every single day.I also wanted to do well for Mumbai as a batter and captain, and went on to win Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.Every day when I woke up, the thinking was always to play for India again and that kept me going.”
“Rather than thinking about regrets or going in a negative direction, I thought of enjoying every moment.I went through success and failure throughout that season, helping Mumbai to do well, and obviously learning from every individual.I thought that learning process really helped me a lot.”
“You have to keep learning process going and grow as a cricketer as a person every single day, no matter whether you do well or not.Overall, I thought the contributions from everyone, my family members, my three-four close friends, that contribution was massive,” he concluded.
This is the second straight time India will be playing in the WTC final after they lost the title clash to New Zealand in the inaugural edition of the championship at Southampton in 2021.
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