MELBOURNE: Ajinkya Rahane has absorbed the farewell words of regular skipper Virat Kohli, but is determined to be his own man as he takes responsibility for the last three Indian matches against Australia, the 32-year-old said on Friday.
Kohli returned home to attend the birth of his first child after tourists were killed for three days at the opening of a day-night series in Adelaide.
Rahane’s composure is in stark contrast to Kohli’s animated presence, but the mid-range kick drew inspiration from his experience of leading India to a test win against Australia in the 2017 test.
“Supporting my instincts as a captain, staying calm under pressure, supporting my own strength, my own methods … I really learned a lot during that test match,” Rahane said on the eve of Saturday’s boxing day match.
“Obviously it’s a great opportunity, a responsibility too. I don’t want to be pressured.”
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In Kohli’s absence, Rahane faces an unenviable task against a dashing Australian side seeking revenge for its first test loss to India two years ago.
Rahane, who also led India to victory in his 2018 debut test in Afghanistan, said his composure should not be mistaken for a lack of aggression.
“Personally, I stay calm and cool, but my punching is mostly aggressive. I support my instinct, it’s all about playing as a team from tomorrow.”
Asked if Kohli had a farewell message for the team, Rahane said: “We had a team dinner in Adelaide and he talked to all of us about being positive, we just play to our strengths and play as a unit.”
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Compared to Kohli’s practical captaincy leadership, Rahane’s leadership is more democratic and the Mumbai player has confirmed that he will not put himself in the middle and feed his bowlers with a spoon.
“I generally stand in the ditch, even as a captain, so you’ll see me standing in the ditch tomorrow,” he said with a smile.