After a solid season in domestic cricket and impressing at the recently concluded IPL 2023, Ajinkya Rahane will marked his return into the India’s 15-member Test squad for the final against Australia from at The Oval.
Striking at an impressive 172.49, Rahane finished with 326 runs for Chennai Super Kings. In the process, he also scored the second-fastest fifty by any Chennai Super Kings player, getting a fifty of 19 balls against Mumbai Indians. But beyond his T20 form, it is likely that Rahane’s experience and current form may help him into the playing XI with Shreyas Iyer out of action due to injury and Suryakumar Yadav’s lack of overseas Tests.
“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 really special for me,” said 34-year-old Rahane in a video on bcci.tv.
“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,” he added.
Rahane, who last played a Test in January 2022, made also hit a match-winning 71 not out off 29 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders, a few days before the squad was announced by BCCI.
Talking about his time away, Rahane said he continued the grind at Ranji Trophy where he ended the season with 634 runs in 11 innings, with two hundreds and an average of 57.63 but what kept him going was his motivation to return to the Indian team.
“It was an emotional moment for me coming back after 18-19 months. When I was dropped, the support from my family was really important. The dream was still to play for India,” he said.
He added: “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.
It will be India’s second WTC final after they lost the decider to New Zealand in the inaugural edition in 2021. The Test between India and Australia begins on June 7 at The Oval.
Watch the entire video here.