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Team focussed on becoming number one in Tests: Rahane

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Port of Spain: Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has said that the team will be going out to dominate in the fourth Test against West Indies starting here on Thursday and remains focused on its long-term goal of becoming the number one side in the longest format.

The visitors won the first and third Tests in Antigua and St.Lucia to seal the four-match series while the second Test in Jamaica was drawn.

“Mood has been fantastic in the dressing room. Our goal is to play attacking cricket and dominate West Indies here. We have been playing good cricket and it is important to finish well on this tour,” said Rahane today.

“3-0 will be very good and our long term goal is to be the no.1 Test team. But it is important to stay in the present moment. As Virat Kohli said earlier, we want to express ourselves in the middle. That means we want to dominate here again like we did in the first three Tests.

“We have dominated every single day in this series and dominated every single Test so far. So it is important to be in that process regularly and think about achieving that no.1 Test status as a team,” he said, about the possibility of India going top in the rankings should they win at the Queen’s Park Oval.

Rahane was among the batsmen who were shifted in the batting order, as Rohit Sharma was included in the playing eleven for the third Test.

“It is not too different. It i how you adjust and how you assess the conditions at a particular spot. For me if I am batting at four or fiver, it is important to read the conditions really well and play according to that rather than thinking about anything else. So number doesn’t matter for me, and wherever the team management asks me to bat, I am always ready for that,” he said.

“When Virat told me that I am going to bat at number four then I was trying to imagine what will be the situation once I go into bat. Sometimes you go in at 10/2 and sometimes you go at 150/2 or 200/2. So it is important to read the situation and play according to that and continue the momentum.”

Talking about the changes in his approach when such a situation arises, Rahane said, “I do visualization a day before the game, and also in the dressing room before I go into bat. I always try and visualise myself in different situations. And actually that is helping me in the middle to bat at number five. It is important to assess the conditions once you go in and play according to that.

“Of course, what you are thinking may not happen in the field of play. But what you visualise, most of the times those things happen. I speak with our coaches, Sanjay Bangar and Anil Kumble, so I think that communication and visualization is really helping me.
All this change was a gamble that almost didn’t pay off though, as India were struggling at 130/5 at one stage.

But they recovered thanks to the double hundred partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha, and afterwards Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s five-wicket haul in the West Indies’ first innings.

Rahane’s quick fifty in the second innings also helped the team set up the 237-run win.

“Second innings was completely different but I felt that taking time was also important rather than just scoring runs. There was some help for the fast bowlers in that wicket.

“When Ashwin and I were batting, our communication was only to take time and tire their bowlers as we could have attacked them later. In the second innings we lost one day because of the rain, so we had to score quickly on the fourth day,” he explained.

For the hosts then, it will be a tough task to find inspiration for the fourth Test and rise again to challenge the visitors who are looking like a well oiled machinery.

But team India is in no mood to take them lightly despite the series already settled.

“As mentioned before, we think that West Indies is a pretty dangerous team in at home. We played some good cricket so far and have improved ourselves. Our bowling unit has been performing really well from the Sri Lanka tour and in India against South Africa as well.

PTI

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