Ajinkya Rahane has done wonders for the Indian Test team over the last year or so. The veteran Mumbai-born batsman has been a mainstay in the India Test team under Virat Kohli, earning the tag of deputy vice-captain. In a recent interview with India Today, Ajinkya Rahane revealed the role former India captain Rahul Dravid and the NCA played in helping him re-discover his form during a crucial phase last season.
Highest Average in Away from home in Test Cricket among Indians:— Rohit Sharma™ (@Ro45FC_) February 23, 2020
54.74 - Sachin Tendulkar
53.61 - Rahul Dravid
52.11 - Sunil Gavaskar
51.86 - M Amarnath
46.76 - Ajinkya Rahane
46.12 - Virat Kohli
44.73 - Sehwag
43.61 - Gautam Gambhir#NZvIND pic.twitter.com/Chl2SnW9L8
In the interview, Ajinkya Rahane was revealed that Rahul Dravid motivated him to play naturally after a sting in County cricket in England. The Rajasthan Royals player was quoted saying "I thought I had spent my time really good at Hampshire. It was not all about cricketing experiences but also on my off-days I used to walk alone with a cup of coffee in my hand and I used to think about how I used to play in my younger days when I made my debut in the Ranji Trophy. So I actually went back and the answer that I got was to play fearless cricket. To back my instincts; I wasn't thinking about results or outcomes. That's what was happening during those one-and-a-half years when I was thinking about results. Then I think spending time at the NCA before the West Indies tour and that chat I had with Rahul bhai. He told me: 'You should go out there looking for that challenge, don't worry about getting those hundreds.' Because personally I know that I was scoring runs. I wasn't scoring those big hundreds but I was actually contributing for my team getting 70s, 80s and 90s."
Ajinkya Rahane went on to add that Rahul Dravid encouraged him to enjoy his batting more than concentrating on personal milestones which ultimately made the difference on foreign tours. Ajinkya Rahane added that "Rahul Dravid just told me to go out there and enjoy my batting and hundreds would come automatically and that's what I did. He just said: 'You are a good player; just keep yourself calm while batting. You don't have to prove to anyone. Just go out there and be yourself.'
From then on, I have been just trying to play fearless cricket, think about the situations, be aware of what's going on in those particular moments and react accordingly. When I was getting out in the 70s and 80s, I was actually thinking about my 100, my personal milestone. A lot of times it happens that you are close to a hundred on 80-odd and you start thinking about playing cautiously. So at some level, my game used to get affected, my attacking instincts were getting suppressed. But now even if I am in the 90s, if the ball is there to be hit I will hit it. If the hundred is to come, it will happen."