We will play better against South Africa spinners: Rahane
India’s middle-order mainstay Ajinkya Rahane on Friday promised that the team’s batsmen would put up a much more impressive display against spinners in the coming four-Test series against South Africa than they had in the last few rubbers.
Agreeing that Indian batsmen did not do too well against the spinning ball in Sri Lanka, Rahane said things would be different against South Africa at home.“Unfortunately, we got out to spinners in Sri Lanka. We played fast bowling very well in Australia and South Africa. The intention was to play out their first spells and then take them on. We are just looking to improve against spin in the series against South Africa. I’m confident in the series against South Africa we will do well against spin,” he said.
While rubbishing suggestions that <g data-gr-id="23">the current lot</g> of batsmen were suspect against quality spin bowling, Rahane said, “I don’t think we are playing spin bowling badly. In Sri Lanka, you have to give credit to their spinners. Rangana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal bowled very well.”
Rahane said with the team preferring to play with five frontline bowlers, the onus was on batsmen to give them enough time to get 20 wickets for a Test win.
“With five bowlers playing as batsmen, it was our responsibility to get quick runs. We wanted to give enough time to the bowlers to take 20 wickets. That was our mindset in Sri Lanka,” said Rahane, who scored a century in the second innings of the second Test for a winning cause.
Dravid prefers Rahane to bat at no. 5 in Tests
Joining the debate over Ajinkya Rahane’s batting order in Tests, former India captain Rahul Dravid said on Friday he prefers his one-time Rajasthan Royals teammate to bat at no. 5 and not one-down, a position he was sent in the last two Tests in Sri Lanka recently.
“He’s good at no. 5, or even 4, because of his ability to play with the tail-enders, the range of shots he possesses and for the opportunity he would get to face the second new ball too,” a visibly reluctant Dravid told former Test opener Aakash Chopra at the launch of the latter’s book “The Insider” here. It was interesting to note that Rahane was sitting by his side on the dais when Chopra put the question to the 42- year-old cricket legend, “Ajinkya at no. 3 or 5, what do you want?”
The debate has arisen as Rahane, who has been the most consistent of all Indian middle order batsmen on the overseas tours to South Africa, New Zealand, England and South Africa - at no. 5 - was asked to bat at no. 3 in the second and third Tests against Lanka, both played at Colombo and won by India for a 2-1 series win, after he had batted at no. 5 in the lost first Test at Galle. While scoring a second innings century for a winning cause in the second Test, Rahane failed to reach double figures in the other three innings in which he batted at no. 3. His Mumbai teammate Rohit Sharma, who flopped at no. 3 in the series <g data-gr-id="105">opener,</g> made two half centuries and also got good starts in the other two innings in which he was demoted to no. 5 - the slot previously occupied by Rahane.