Jamaica, Aug 29 : Ajinkya Rahane is keen to "live in the present" as he looks ahead to India's second Test against West Indies, but can't quickly forget the feeling of a "special", match-winning century in the previous game.
Rahane missed out on a hundred in the first innings in Antigua, but brought up 102 in the second hit, setting up India's emphatic 318-run win. It was his first three-figure score in two years, having last reached the mark against Sri Lanka in August 2017.
"I got to know what it feels like to get a century after two years," he said. "I was a little bit emotional." "It took me two years to get that 10th hundred. The process always matters to me a lot. Preparations before each and every series is very important. I was doing that throughout the two years, and yes, 10th hundred was really special," Rahane said.
Ignored for India's limited-overs teams, Rahane spent his time in the UK, playing county cricket for Hampshire. He acknowledged the importance of the experience in improving his confidence. "It's very early to say if county season benefitted me," he explained, "but what I can say is that I used my time well in those two months. I learnt about batting, about how to play the Dukes ball."
India go into the second Test here, starting on Friday, as favourites to consolidate their position at the top of the ICC Test Championship table. While West Indies have not lost a series at home since April 2017, India have not lost a Test to them since 2002.
Rahane urged his team-mates to not get carried away by the past, "respect" the opposition and "play to our strengths", but gave little else away about the team's plan for Sabina Park. "We are confident about what we did in the last game, but we have to live in the present," he said. "We are in a good space as a team, as a bowling unit and batting unit."
One big decision captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have to make is whether to bring in Rohit Sharma in the middle order. Hanuma Vihari occupied the No.6 spot in
the first Test and gave a good account of himself, pitching in with 93 in a 135-run stand with Rahane in the second innings.
"Vihari did very well in the India A tours and he did really well in the domestic circuit," Rahane said. "It's good that players who did well consistently over a period of time in domestic cricket are doing well at the international level. At the same time, yes, Rohit is also a quality player, a special player. It's hard to see him miss out on a Test match."(UNI)