The loss in Adelaide was just “one bad hour” after two days of domination which “doesn’t mean that the players or the team are bad”, says India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane ahead of the second Test beginning Saturday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Rahane is standing in for regular skipper Virat Kohli who has returned to India to attend the birth of his first child.
“In the last Test match, we had two good days, just one bad hour where we actually lost it completely but the chat after that was all about backing ourselves as individuals and as team and play to our strengths and whatever we had planned in the first Test match just stick to that,” said Rahane while speaking to the media on Friday.
The 32-year-old, who led India to a win over Australia in the Dharamsala Test of 2017, said that he would back his natural instincts.
“From the 2017 Test, I learnt about backing your instincts as captain and remaining calm under pressure. So, I think my thought is to just back own methods which I ideally focus on. I learnt a lot from it,” said Rahane.
“I am not focussing on myself but on the team. It is a proud moment for me to lead India. It’s a great opportunity and responsibility as well. I don’t want to take any pressure,” he said before adding, “Yes we had one bad session. But we are playing well and are a good batting and bowling unit. I stay calm and cool but my batting is generally aggressive. I bat from my instincts… We will back our basics and back our plan. We just had one bad hour. It is all about staying positive, backing own ability and batting in partnerships. Communication and batting in partnerships matters a lot. We are just focusing on that.”
The regular India No. 5, who is likely to don the role of the No. 4 batsman, was involved in the run-out of Kohli in the first innings of the first Test that cut short the latter’s 74-run knock.
“It was really tough, we were going well at that moment. The partnership was going well and good. I could see the momentum going towards Australia. After the end of day’s play, I said sorry to him. He was okay. He understood it but such things happen in cricket and we have to respect it,” said Rahane.
The Indian team had a get-together and a team dinner before Kohli left Adelaide for India. Kohli gave a pep-talk.
“We met Virat before he left Adelaide. We had our team dinner. He spoke to all the boys and said, ‘just be yourselves, play your game as a team’. He asked all of us to stay positive, play to our strength and just play as a team and as a unit. That is what we were doing all the year, it is all about that. All about the strength, playing for each other, enjoying each other’s success.”
Rahane though said he doesn’t want to disturb Kohli in his moment of celebration. “I don’t want to disturb him now, because this time is really special and just want to wish him and his family well.