India keen to maintain top spot: Rahane

Kolkata: Indian Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said here Tuesday that their 9-0 clean sweep against Sri Lanka, earlier this year will have no bearing in the return series as they remain focused on maintaining the No.1 spot in Tests.

“This series is completely different compared to what we played in Sri Lanka. We are not taking them lightly in spite of having successful series there,” Rahane said during a  press conference at the Eden Gardens here.

However, Rahane admitted that they are not taking the Lankans lightly and are solely focusing on this series at the moment. “For us each and every match and series is important before going to South Africa. We will think of South Africa when we go there. Right now we are concentrating on this series,” he said.

Talking about his extensive reverse sweep session at the nets, Tuesday, the middle-order batsman said, “It’s important to improve your game every day and evolve when you are practising at the nets. If an opportunity comes in the game, I will be 100 per cent confident of playing a particular shot. So, practicing sweep, reverse sweep and paddle sweep just as options.”

Meanwhile Indian skipper Virat Kohli was also seen batting with a shorter bat to correct his front foot which off late has been one of the causes for his dismissal. Just before he went into the nets, Kohli asked a local ground staff to shorten his bat handle by cutting it from the  top

India have been playing non-stop limited overs cricket since the Sri Lanka series in August which also included the series against Australia and New Zealand at home. Rahane informed that modern-day cricketers know how to adapt quickly.

“Everyone knows how to adapt and adjust to all the formats and I don’t think we will have any problem in that. We need to win the first Test here to get the momentum going,” the 29-year-old right-handed batsman added.

Kohli and chief coach Ravi Shastri also had a good look at the pitch which CAB president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly termed as ‘sporting’.

Shastri slams Dhoni critics

Kolkata: Indian cricket team’s chief coach Ravi Shastri questioned Tuesday the abilities of the former cricketers who have recently been critical of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“People should look back at their career before commenting on Dhoni. The former captain has a lot of cricket left in him and it is the duty of the team to back the legend,” Shastri said while visiting the Fanattic Sports Museum here which has been set up by cricket writer Boria Majumdar.

“There is no one better than Dhoni on the field given his ability behind the wickets and with the bat and his presence of mind and sharpness on the field,” he added.

Shastri also lauded the athleticism of the players of the current side and asserted that India are one of the best fielding sides at present. “It is one aspect that has made this team better than many Indian teams of the past,” asserted Shastri.

The former Indian captain also informed that the winning mentality of the players have made the team a formidable outfit. “This team always turns up at the park to win. We hope to win the series spread over one-and-half-months before going to South Africa,” Shastri asserted.

He also said that the team will not miss Hardik Pandya who has been rested for the first two Tests. “This team is not about one particular individual, we lose together, we win together,” he stated candidly.


Press trust of India


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