Test team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane believes India have a strong side and will do well in the upcoming World Cup slated to be held in England and Wales from May 30. “Definitely, I am going to back the Indian team. We have a very strong side going into the World Cup. So, I am sure the Indian team will do well,” Rahane told ESPNcricinfo. Two-time champions India will begin their tournament campaign on June 5 against South Africa. Before that, they will play two practice matches against New Zealand (May 25) and Bangladesh (May 28). On Wednesday, the middle-order batsman, who failed to find a spot in the 15-member World Cup squad, had a memorable debut at the County Championship as he scored a patient hundred for Hampshire.
Rahane, who had managed just 10 runs in the first innings of the Division One game against Nottinghamshire, smashed 119 runs off 197 balls in the second innings on Day Three of the match. His innings was studded with 14 glorious boundaries. Speaking about his game plan, the 30-year-old said he kept it simple and just wanted to spend time in the middle. “I am really happy, especially the way I batted. I was really confident and wanted to make it count. My plan was to just bat, bat and bat. I wasn’t thinking about runs. I just wanted to be there and take my team to a good position and that really worked this morning,” Rahane said.
His innings was filled with fluent timing. He even faced the likes of England’s senior pacer, Stuart Broad and Jake Ball but never looked out of comfort. He showed great discipline and played the ball on its merit. “That (discipline) is really important in England. I have been talking to my teammates about the batting plans and that really worked for me. I just had a simple game plan-wanted to play close to my body and as late as possible,” he added.
Rahane became the third Indian cricketer to score a century on debut in the County Championship. Piyush Chawla (for Sussex in 2009) and Murali Vijay (for Essex in 2018) are the two others in this list.