Can’t let our guard down against New Zealand: Rahane

prv_7aa51_1472873843Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian batsman, has warned his teammates to not take New Zealand lightly later this month in the Test series at home. Rahane is wary of the threat the New Zealand attack possesses especially after the performance of their spinners in the World Twenty20 earlier this year. Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum picked nine wickets among themselves to give their side a huge 47-run win over India in the first game of the Super 10 stage.

Even though Trent Boult didn’t feature heavily in New Zealand’s plans during the tournament, Rahane wants his side to watch out for the left-arm seamer alongside spinners Santner and Sodhi when the first Test begins in Kanpur on September 22. “It’s a decent attack,” Rahane told PTI on Friday (September 2). “They have Trent Boult, also good spinners like Mitch Santner and Ish Sodhi. We can’t let our guard down.”

Rahane also refrained himself from setting any targets for the future and instead chose to focus only on India’s next assignment. “I know I have a job at hand but I never set targets beforehand,” he said. “I believe setting targets takes you too much into future. Looking too far ahead can clutter your mind. Instead I like taking each day as it comes. Right now, the focus will be on New Zealand series.

“I always discuss my batting with my childhood coach Praveen Amre. It won’t be any different this time also. Obviously the preparations for each series is slightly different. But obviously you never reveal your strategy before the series starts. The key is to always remain three steps ahead of the opposition,”

The 27-year-old expressed satisfaction over his performances against the Dukes ball in the recently concluded Test series in West Indies where India won 2-0. Rahane batted just four times in the series and ended up as the second highest run-getter with 243 runs, just eight behind skipper Virat Kohli. “I always strive to improve and I am satisfied with my performance in the Caribbean,” he remarked.

“I had prepared specially to face the Dukes red ball. It is different to play red Dukes than kookaburra as the ball seams and swings more than other balls. For that you need to play close to the body and as late as possible. That was my endeavour and I was happy with my execution. It would have been great had we won 3-0 but you can’t control weather.”

The Mumbai batsman then signed off after praising Indian coach Anil Kumble’s passion for the game and believes ‘nothing seems to have changed’ despite the 45-year-old quitting international cricket eight years ago. “He has been phenomenal with his inputs. His passion is unmatched. He has an eye for every minute detail. He told me that I am doing well and key to consistency is focussing on routines.”

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