India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday hit back at a question regarding his performance at home in the longest format, saying he is a team man who scores runs when when needed.

He also spoke about the criticism regarding the pitches for the India vs England series in the virtual media conference ahead of the fourth and final Test.

When asked about what how he is trying to get out of the slump he is facing against spin in Indian conditions, Rahane shot back saying check the facts to understand his contribution to the team.

“I was expecting this question... thankfully you asked. I think you need to check your facts, you know my contribution for the team. Whenever team needed runs my runs are there, so you need to focus on your facts and then come up with the question. I’m a team man, everyone knows that and whenever team needs to perform in that particular situation, I have always done that so I’m not too concerned about it,” the 32-year-old said.

“Yes as a player I always look to learn look to grow as a cricketer and which is really important and I’m looking to do that,” he added.

While Rahane’s overall average in India is below 40, it is worth noting that since 2018 his numbers at home have improved. In the last 11 Test matches in India, he has scored at an average of 43.76 with five half centuries and a century. In the ongoing series, he played a crucial knock in the second Test in Chennai, while building a partnership with Rohit Sharma.

Ajinkya Rahane's Test record by host country

Mat Inns Runs Ave SR 100 50
in West Indies 6 8 514 102.80 47.11 2 3
in Bangladesh 1 1 98 98.00 95.14 0 1
in South Africa 3 6 266 53.20 49.53 0 2
in Sri Lanka 6 10 407 45.22 51.97 2 1
in Australia 12 23 884 42.09 53.47 2 4
in India 30 47 1578 36.69 48.83 4 8
in New Zealand 4 7 253 36.14 47.55 1 0
in England 10 20 556 29.26 45.24 1 4
Via ESPNCricinfo

The vice captain also said that there is no need to take criticism of the spin-friendly pitches seriously as not a word is spoken about the damp tracks overseas and nor has the Indian team complained in the past.

“See, let people speak what they want to. The wickets, when we tour abroad, no one speaks about how seaming they are. They always speak about the technique of the Indian batsmen, I don’t feel we need to take seriously what people say,” Rahane said in Marathi.

“... when we tour abroad, the first day wicket is damp. When wicket becomes grassy and behaves up and down, then the pitch becomes dangerous but we haven’t complained about it or we have never spoken about it.”

From Kohli to Cook: Who said what about the pitch for the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium

There has been a lot of talk about the spinning tracks in the second Test at Chepauk and the pink-ball game in Motera which ended inside two days. The fourth and final Test starts on March 4.

Rahane indicated that England can expect another turner in the fourth Test.

“I think the wicket will be similar to the second Test match in Chennai, spinning track. Yes, pink ball made the difference and it came much quicker off the wicket compared to red ball and we had to make adjustments. Wicket will be a lot similar to last two Test matches,” Rahane said.

On spinning tracks, it’s imperative to play the line, Rahane said.

“When you play on spinning tracks, you have to play the line...If ball is spinning too much, you don’t have to think too much.”

He added that the focus was on the fourth Test and that they are not taking England lightly despite the last two lopsided wins. The Mumbai batsman also said that the World Test Championship final will be like the World Cup for the team, echoing Ishant Sharma’s thoughts, but the team’s immediate target was to do well in the fourth match.

“We respect the England team. They are a very good team. We played good cricket in last two Tests and England played really well in the first game. We are not taking them lightly, and both teams will go out there and look to give their best to win the Test match,” he said later adding there was no question about playing for a draw that would help the side qualify for WTC final.

He said Umesh Yadav has looked in good rhythm in the nets, with Jasprit Bumrah rested for the final Test.

“Umesh is ready to go. Looking good and had a good session at the nets. We are really happy that he is back,” Rahane said.

You can watch the full press conference here:


With PTI inputs