Top 21 Questions with : Ajinkya Rahane, India batsman
Updated on: 26 Jun 2016
Ajinkya Rahane's journey from a young boy who lugged a heavy kitbag in the local trains as he travelled four hours a day to make it to Azad Maidan from Dombivli and back, to the current vice-captain of the Test team and India's best all-weather batsman in Tests has been a heady one. On a welcome break after a hectic season, the elegant middle-order batsman took time out from his training schedule at BKC and indulged in a 45-minute interaction with the TOI Mumbai sports team. During the conversation, the man curiously nicknamed jinx, shed light on how karate helped him maintain composure, the fire and ice combination with Virat Kohli and his ability to score challenging hundreds in tough conditions at historic Test venues. Excerpts:'
How has the break been for you? We've seen you post nice pictures on social media?
I really enjoyed my break. After a long time, we got a break. I went on a holiday with my wife. We've been playing continuously since the last year's IPL. We went to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka and Australia. It was a long season. If you are a professional cricketer, you need that break at times. I started training at the BKC five days ago and I am focusing on the West Indies series.
The pictures on social media paint you as a fun-loving person. It is almost the exact opposite of the serious, focused athlete you are on the field.
I am a fun-loving person and I am keen to improve my image even off the field which is important. Till now I was focusing on things on the field. Now, I have got to know from my managers that even off the field activities are important.
You have robust characters around you in the team, people who don't hold back. How do you manage to hold yourself back in such situations? What do you mean when you say 'hold yourself back'?
If you look at Rohit Sharma confronting Steve Smith or Virat confronting anybody, how do you hold back? You must have heard a lot of chatter in Australia.
That is my way of dealing with things. Every person is different on the field. I don't like to express myself. If I stay composed, cool and calm, I can be aggressive through my batting not through my actions. That is my mantra. I like to stick to that because whenever I got angry on the field, I didn't do well. I realised very early that if I stay calm under pressure, I can do much better.
You went after Mitchell Johnson at the MCG in December 2014. Was it a reaction at what was said to you? Not too many batsmen have taken Johnson on.
He was actually going after Virat. During that innings, I just felt as if I must take him on. I was visualizing my innings and how I am going to attack all the bowlers when I was watching Virat and Vijay bat. Once I went in and got set, I told Virat I am going to take the bowlers on.
If you look back at the Indian teams that have done well in Australia, they have all played attacking cricket. We really wanted to play attacking cricket in Australia and dominate them and we wanted to show them that we are here to win.
You have a tendency to play special knocks at historic venues like Lord's, Wanderers, MCG. Many top cricketers get nervous while playing in big venues, but you seem to enjoy it.