Says India will be ruthless against Test debutants Afghanistan
No longer a certainty in the shorter formats, India's stand-in Test captain Ajinkya Rahane said he will talk to the national selection committee to get a clearer picture about his mode of preparation for the upcoming Test series in England.
After the one-off Afghanistan Test match, Rahane has nothing to look forward to as he has been dropped from the limited-overs side which is going to UK first. The Test series against England is scheduled to start on August 1 after a limited-overs series featuring three T20 Internationals and an equal number of ODIs beginning July 3.
Asked what will he do for the next one and half months, a normally defensive Rahane let his guard down.
"See, I don't know what's going to happen after this Test match. But yeah, I will definitely have a word with the selectors," Rahane's indecisiveness was palpable before he again tightened his defences during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
While there are talks that he might play a few games for India A, there's no official word on the matter.
"But I will start my preparation in Mumbai as I always do at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). I always prepare intensely before each and every series but as of now the focus on this Test match. Each and every Test counts and we need to win this one," Rahane said.
Afghanistan might be newcomers but Rahane emphasised on the need to be "ruthless" against a Test side even if it's making a debut on the big stage.
"We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team...bowlers (are good).
"As a Test team, we cannot take anyone for granted because cricket is a funny game. We want to go out there and be ruthless. Yes, we respect them as our opponents but it's important for us to go out there and give more than our 100. We just need to be ruthless," Rahane said.
Like Dinesh Karthik, Rahane also didn't want to read too much into Afghan captain Ashgar Stanikzai's statement about the visiting spinners being superior to the Indian trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
"Every member will like to believe that their team is good. We all know the stats but we don't want to focus on the stats. Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep are experienced spinners. On a given day, it's the mindset that makes a difference," Rahane said.
For Rahane, the last three days have been about tuning out of the IPL.
"We have had a couple of practice sessions in Bangalore and it was fantastic. Coming back from IPL, it's important that we train our minds.
"Getting back to Test mode from T20 is about tuning our minds rather than focusing on skills. We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly."