Leading a talented but a raw bunch of youngsters and turning them into match-winners, Ajinkya Rahane has taken some huge strides as a captain in last month or so. Rahane won the hearts of many fans and also impressed the experts with his astute captaincy and decision-making during the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Down Under. In the absence of regular captain Kohli, who took a break due to paternity leave, Rahane inspired the team with a memorable hundred at MCG to make a comeback in the four-match Test series against Australia in their backyard. With England coming to Indian shores for an all-format duel, Rahane made it clear that the undisputed leader of this side is Kohli and he is happy filling in when required.
“Nothing changes. Virat was and will always be the captain of the Test team and I am his deputy. When he was absent it was my duty to lead the side and my responsibility to give my best for Team India’s success,” Rahane, who was on his way to Chennai, quoted by PTI in an exclusive interview.
For the vice-captain, it was not about being on the hot seat but having the ability to perform the role to perfection that mattered the most.
“Its not the matter of merely being a captain. How you perform the captain’s role is what’s more important. So far I have been successful. Hopefully, in future also, I will try to give these kind of results for my team,” said the man, who has led his country to four wins in five Tests.
Reflecting on his relationship with Kohli, Rahane said it has always been smooth. “Me and Virat have always shared a good bonding with each other. He has time and again praised my batting. Both of us played memorable knocks for our team in India and overseas conditions. It only helped that Virat comes at No.4 and myself at No.5. We have had a lot of partnerships,” the 32-year-old said.
Theirs is a relationship that has been based on transparency and mutual respect. “We have always backed each other’s game. When we are at the crease, we discuss threadbare about opposition’s bowling. We caution each other whenever one of us plays a rash shot.”
And how does he find Kohli as a captain?
“Virat is a sharp captain. He takes good on-field decisions. Whenever the spinners are in operation, he is banking on me and he believes that taking those catches at slips off Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja is one of my core competence areas.
“Virat expects a lot from me and I try and ensure not to let him down,” said Rahane, who is 13 short of a milestone of 100 catches in Test matches as an outfielder.