Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has given a befitting reply to critics for criticizing himself and Cheteshwar Pujara for their slow batting in the Lord’s Test against England. Rahane says that he has played enough cricket that he knows what suits the interests of the Indian team. Rahane laughed at the criticism on social media, saying only ‘important people’ are talked about. Rahane hit 61 off 146 balls while Pujara made 45 off 206 balls and added 100 runs in almost 50 overs during their partnership. Ahead of the third Test starting on Wednesday, Rahane said, ‘I am happy that people are talking about me. I have always believed that people talk about important people so I am not too worried about it. It is about contributing to the team. Asked if criticism motivates him, Rahane said, “Everything inspires me. I get inspired by playing for the country. I don’t bother about criticism. Pujara took 35 balls to open the account at Lord’s but India did not suffer the loss of his and Rahane’s slow batting and the team was successful in winning by 151 runs. Regarding the win, Rahane said that he is satisfied with the way he played. According to Rahane, ‘I have always believed in contributing and this contribution was satisfactory. You always think about your game but the performance of the team is supreme. You think about your innings and what suits you but ultimately our focus is on what the team needs. Asked about his interactions with Pujara during the innings, Rahane said he was just talking about staying put. He said, ‘Talks were only about small goals and from there the innings had to be progressed. Cheteshwar, we always talk that he plays slow but that innings was very important for us. He played 200 balls. We supported each other.
‘Me and Pujara have been playing together for a long time’
Rahane said, “Cheteshwar and I have been playing together for a long time, we know how to deal with pressure, how to deal with certain situations. We don’t talk about things that are not under our control.’ No player in the current Indian team has the experience of playing at Headingley but Rahane said the players in the team are not worried about it. Rahane said it is about finding momentum as a batsman or a bowler. “It’s not challenging,” he said. When you are in rhythm, you have to maintain it and believe in yourself. I don’t see any problem playing at Headingley. Rahane said, ‘It all happens in the mind and we are mentally strong. All the players are in good shape. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah performed brilliantly with the bat as well as with the ball and shared an unbroken 89-run partnership for the ninth wicket when India lost eight wickets for 209 runs. This partnership took the match out of England’s JD. When asked whether the batting of the tail batsmen affected the openers of the opposition team, Rahane said, “It affects the batsmen. After seven or eight wickets fall, they start thinking about their batting. You must have noticed that he had started virtual batting practice at slips, he had also started warm-up and footwork.
[Attribution to NBT]