Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India batsman Ajinkya Rahane has revealed that emulating the legendary VVS Laxman has helped him improve his game significantly.
Rahane’s comments come after he scored 270 runs, which includes one century and two half-centuries, at a superb average of 54 in the first three Tests against England.
“When batting at No. 5 you have more time on your hands. I noticed how Laxman paaji made the optimal use of time,” Rahane said in an interview with BCCI TV. “He used to come to the dressing room, relax, take a shower and take a brief nap. I learnt from him how important it is that during this time when you are waiting for your turn to bat, you don’t over-think things and stress your mind out.
“It is important to switch off and go out to bat with a fresh mind when your turn comes. I did take that from him – sometimes, when there is a bit of extra time, I try to sleep for 10-15 minutes. It helps me de-stress and rejuvenate my mind.”
Rahane also noted that he is constantly watching videos of Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in order to analyse what they do to triumph in pressure situations.
“I keep watching the videos of all the great innings played Rahul [Dravid] bhai, Sachin paaji and Laxmanpaaji,” he said. “I watch how they approached a pressure situation and got the team out of jail. I draw motivation from watching their innings.”
Rahane also conceded that the 103 he made at Lord’s will always have a special place in his heart. This is attributed to the fact that he scored his century at ‘The Home of Cricket’ and that his innings played a vital role in helping India win the match.
“At Lord’s I got to know what it feels like to win a Test match overseas. It was such an emotional feeling for all of us and it was so special,” he said. “You play for moments like that. That is the feeling that makes every struggle and difficulty worthwhile.”
When asked if he preferred batting at number five instead of at the top of the order, Rahane said: “When I started playing first-class cricket, I opened the batting for two years and did quite well. Then the Mumbai team management thought that my batting at No. 3 will be beneficial for the team. I gave a positive response to the call and batted at that position for the next few years.
“When I got picked for the Indian team, I was there as a middle-order batsman. I had never batted at No. 5 before and it was a very new thing for me. But I took it as a fresh challenge and tried my best to adapt to the role.”
Rahane has now scored two centuries and four half-centuries in eight Test matches, but he is not letting himself get carried away with the strong start he had made to his Test career.
“No matter how many Test matches you have played, you’re always a little nervous before a game and before going in to bat,” he said. “And I believe it is important to have that nervousness because that means you care about this game and you respect it.”