Ajinkya Rahane reacts to captaincy debate ahead of England series

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 26, 2021, 06.18 PM(IST)

Virat Kohli (L), with Ajinkya Rahane (R). Photograph:( AFP )

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Ajinkya Rahane has been lauded for his leadership abilities following India's historic triumph against Australia but the Indian middle-order batsman made it clear that Virat Kohli is the undisputed leader of the Indian team while adding he is happy to fill in when required. 

Ajinkya Rahane has been lauded for his leadership abilities following India's historic triumph against Australia but the Indian middle-order batsman made it clear that Virat Kohli is the undisputed leader of the Indian team while adding he is happy to fill in when required. 

Rahane, who led the Indian team in the final three Tests against Australia, will be back being the deputy to Kohli during India's four-match Test series against England, starting on February 5. 

"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, told PTI in an exclusive interview. 

For the Indian Test vice-captain, the priority is to have the ability to perform the captaincy role to perfection when needed.

"It's 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 kinds of results for my team," said the man, who has led his country to four wins in five Tests. 

Rahane, while reflecting on his relationship with Kohli, said they have always shared a good bonding with each other as he said their relationship has been based on transparency and mutual respect. 

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"Virat and I 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.  

"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 Rahane 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. 

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"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. 

While fans and pundits heaped praise on Rahane – the leader – the elegant middle-order batsman downplayed his role by saying that he believes a captain is as good as his team. He further said that the complete credit of India's victory Down Under goes to the players. 

"With regards to leadership, I can only say that it varies from person to person. A captain is as good as his team. When you win a match or a series, it's always a collective effort and not because of singular man's contribution.  

"It's your teammates only, who make you a good leader. The complete credit of this series win belongs to my team," concluded the reticent cricketer. 

(With PTI inputs) 

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