Not Concerned About Personal Form, Says Stand-in Captain Rahane Before NZ Tests
Ajinkra Rahane spoke to the media on the eve of the Test series against New Zealand.
Team India's stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane confirmed on Wednesday that Shreyas Iyer will make his Test debut in the first match of the two-Test series against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium on Thursday.
Speaking to the media on the eve of the opening game, Rahane said, "Shreyas Iyer is going to make his debut." It is expected that Mayank Agarwal will open the batting alongside Shubman Gill, in absence of both first-choice openers -- Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
Rahane was also asked about his personal form that has dipped a bit, with his last century coming in Melbourne, during the Australian tour. In his last 15 Test outings, the Mumbai batter averages under 25 with former skipper Gautam Gambhir too commenting on his poor outings.
'Rahane is pretty fortunate that he's still part of this side because he's leading,' said Gambhir recently. During the pre-match press conference, Rahane was asked if his own form was a concern and the he replied by saying he always prioritises the team.
'I am not concerned at all regarding my form. Contribution doesn't mean making 100 runs in every game, in several crucial moments making 30,40 or even 50 runs is very important. I always think about the team, never about myself,' said Rahane.
'I am beyond grateful as it's honour for me to lead the country. So I'm not focusing on what'll happen in the future. What is written in our future it'll always happen but my focus is how I can perform my best in that movement and that's exactly what I look forward to,' he added.
A senior member of a young Test side that will take the field on Thursday, KL Rahul was ruled out of the series on Tuesday due to a muscle strain on his left thigh. The BCCI said he has not been sent for rehabilitation to the NCA in Bengaluru to recover in time for the South Africa tour next month.
'It's a big blow for us all that KL is injured and is unavailable for the two Test matches. He did very well in England, he was in good form and played well in T20s, so we'll obviously miss him. But we have guys who can fill up that job and played well for us in the past. So I'm not too worried about the opening slot,' said Rahane at the pre-match press conference.
Rahane however didn't give out the final combination but there was strong indication to expect three spinners. He said the pitches were likely to assist spin because every team is maximising home advantage given the World Test Championship points at stake in every match.
"We are not too sure of the combination," Rahane said. "But in India you generally get spin-friendly wickets, the ball generally keeps slightly low and slow. We expect that but not too sure how the wicket will play. We will have to wait till tomorrow and assess from there."
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