Mumbai: Ajinkya Rahane, who led India to two wins and a draw against Australia in Virat Kohli’s absence, opened up on the captaincy debate.
Ajinkya Rahane has won many fans with his astonishing captaincy during the Indian team’s epic victory in Australia, but he wants to make it clear that Virat Kohli is the undisputed leader of this side and of the Test team against England with Kohli back in the saddle. So will things be different now when he once again dons the vice captain’s hat?
Rahane said, “Nothing changes. Virat was the captain of the Test team and I will always be his deputy. It was my duty to lead the team when he was absent and it was my responsibility to give my best for the success of Team India,” Rahane, who was on his way to Chennai, told PTI in an exclusive interview.
For the vice-captain, it was not about being on the hot seat, but rather the ability to play the role to perfection that mattered the most.
“It’s not just about being the captain. It’s more important how you play the role of a captain. So far, I’ve been successful. Hopefully, in future also, I will try to give this kind of results for my team,” said the man, who has led his country to four wins in five Tests.
Reflecting on his relationship with Kohli, Rahane said that it has always been comfortable.
“Virat and I have always shared a good bonding with each other. He has repeatedly praised my batting and timing. Both of us played memorable knocks for our team in India and overseas conditions. It only helped that Virat comes at No.4 and myself at No.5. We have had a lot of partnerships,” the 32-year-old said.
They have a relationship that is based on transparency and mutual respect.
“We have always supported each other’s game. When we are at the crease, we discuss opposition bowling. Whenever one of us plays a rash shot we caution each other.”
And how does he find Kohli as the captain? “Virat is a sharp captain. He makes good on-field decisions. Whenever the spinner is in operation, he is banking on me and believes that taking those catches at slips off (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja is one of my core competence areas.
“Virat expects a lot from me and I try and ensure not to let him down,” said Rahane, who is 13 short of a milestone of 100 catches in Test matches as an outfielder.
People have seen more of a “leader” in Rahane, but have reduced his role.
“Regarding leadership, I can only say that it varies from one person to another. A captain is just as good as his team. When you win a match or series, it’s always a collective effort. What happens is not due to anyone’s contribution.”
“It’s your teammates who make you a good leader. The credit for winning this series goes to my team.”
Rahane’s brilliant century in the Melbourne Test, according to head coach Ravi Shastri, was the catalyst for change.
After going through the rough patch over the years, does he now feel more secure about his place in the Test team?
“Honestly speaking, I never ever felt that my place in the side was ever in danger. The captain and team management always had faith in me,” said the Mumbaikar, who has 4472 runs in 69 Tests with 12 hundred at an average of 42.58.
(With PTI Inputs)