It is all about intent, says Rahane

It is all about intent, says Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane

In what can be termed an old way of playing mind games, Ajinkya Rahane termed a depleted Australian team as the favourites in the four-Test series against India.

Australia are without the banned duo of Steve Smith and David Warner, their two best batsmen across formats, and look thin in batting resources but India’s Test vice-captain felt Australia were still good enough to win the series.

“Not really,” he said when asked if Australia are vulnerable. “I feel any team that plays at home is really good and I feel Australia are still favourites to win the series. We will not take them lightly. Yes, they will miss Steve Smith and David Warner but I don’t think they are vulnerable. Look at their bowling attack they have really good bowlers and I feel when you have to win Test matches and Test series you have to have a good bowling attack.

“On paper, it is completely different and on the field, it is completely different. As I said we will not take them lightly. Their batsmen are not that experienced but still I feel they are equally dangerous,” he offered.

Warner and Smith, in particular, scored a heavy amount of runs when India toured Australia last time but Rahane said the home team had quality players to stand-up and deliver.  

“Definitely Smith and Warner are quality players. I will not take anything away from them but on a given day anyone can score runs. Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch are equally dangerous in their conditions. They know how the wicket behaves, it is all about intent as batsmen I feel. Smith and Warner are quality players but we have to be in the present. We have to respect them and focus on our strengths and play to our potential.”

Rahane did decently in the only chance he got in South Africa early this year but in England he failed to perform to his potential, a fact not lost on him.

“In South Africa, Johannesburg match was really crucial for me. I thought I did well. In England, I got a couple good starts, 80 in Nottingham and fifty in Rose Bowl, but yes for me as a number five if I get good starts it is important to convert that into big hundreds rather than thinking about targets. On this tour, I think it will be a factor if I get a good start, I should look to score big hundreds here,” he noted.