WTC Final: Ajinkya Rahane opens up on role of being Virat Kohli's deputy in Tests
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has said his role in the team is usually to take a back seat and be ready with solutions whenever skipper Virat Kohli turns to him.
India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has said his role in the team is usually to take a back seat and be ready with solutions whenever skipper Virat Kohli turns to him.
Rahane is currently with the Indian cricket team in the UK gearing up for the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final, which is scheduled to begin on June 18 in Southampton. The summit clash is between the top two teams in the world, India and New Zealand.
"My role is to take the backseat. The captain already has a lot of thoughts in his head and as the vice-captain, my role is to keep my plans ready. If the need comes I reveal my plans but more often than not, I take the back seat. When Virat asks what needs to be done, I should be ready with the answers," Rahane told ESPNCricinfo in an interview.
Under Kohli's captaincy, India were thrashed by Australia in the day-night Test last year in Adelaide. Following that, Kohli returned home on paternity leave and in his absence, his deputy Rahane led the team in the remaining three Tests. Despite being struck by several injuries, Rahane led India to a memorable 2-1 win in the Test series.
India featured two debutants and most of the players were inexperienced in the series-winning Test at the Gabba. As a result, many fans called for Rahane to replace Kohli as India's permanent Test captain. However, later on, Rahane said in an interview that Kohli will always be India's captain.
In the interview with Cricinfo, Rahane also spoke about the differences between Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara's batting.
"Virat and I have had a lot of big partnerships. We like to play attacking cricket. If you look at our strike rate, it is really good in Test cricket. Cheteshwar is different, he likes to take his team. With him the communication is different, he bats at No.3, I bat at No.5 whereas Virat and I are numbers four and five. If we want to counter attack, then we decide to do it together. With Pujara we take more time to form a partnership. The similarity in batting with the two of them is that our communication is always good," added Rahane.
After the WTC final, India are set to take on hosts England in a five-match Test series, starting in August.