MELBOURNE: India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane on Friday said he would rather focus on his team than worrying about Australia’s “mind games” ahead of the Boxing Day Test starting here on Saturday.
Australia coach Justin Langer had on Thursday said he would be “happy” if the Indian team is under a bit of stress after the humiliating defeat in the first Test and would like to put pressure on Rahane, who is taking charge in absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli.
“Australians are very good at playing mind games and I will let them do that. We are focussing on ourselves, what we want to do as a unit and we are going to back our every individuals,” Rahane said on the eve of the match.
Not as expressive or eloquent as Kohli, Rahane repeated his answers in a loop which was all about “playing to your strengths and backing each other”.
“It is a proud moment for me leading India, obviously it is a great opportunity, responsibility as well but I don’t want to take any pressure,” said the dependable middle-order batsman.
“I think what I want to do is back my team. So focus is not on me, it is all about team and how we want to do well as a team. We are focussing on that.”
Even skipper Kohli, before leaving for India for the birth of his child, urged Rahane to be himself and play fearless cricket. “Yeah, Virat spoke to all of us, before leaving. We had our team dinner in Adelaide, so he spoke to all of us about staying in the moment, playing for each other and yeah enjoying each other’s success and help each other out on the field.”
Rahane said one hour of poor cricket on the third morning in Adelaide doesn’t define this team. “Talking about last Test match, see comparatively we had two good days, just one bad hour, where we actually lost it completely,” he said.
“The chat was all about backing ourselves as an individual and as team, play to our strengths and whatever we have planned in
Young opener Shubman Gill will make his debut in the second Test and Rahane said he wants to give him and Mayank Agarwal freedom and not put them under undue pressure.