With India already 3-1 down in the ongoing five-match series against England, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has termed the last at The Oval as a very important one for Indian Cricket. Ajinkya expressed that winning the fifth game and going back home with a respectable series scoreline of 3-2 is crucial from the current team's future point of view.
Speaking at the press conference, Ajinkya, who has even though managed just 220 runs across 8 innings the series, scored a brilliant 81 in Nottingham and a very assured 51 at Southampton, was quoted saying, "It's an important Test match, every Test match is equally important. Yes, the series stands at 3-1 but definitely, we want to give our best and finish on a winning note. I feel we played some good cricket but England played better than us."
"In Test cricket, you have to give more than 100 percent in each and every session and I felt England particularly won small sessions, that's what I felt. Especially their bowling unit, they bowled really well but as I said, important Test match coming up and we will give our best," he added.
Coming into this series with poor form, Ajinkya has had a very indifferent series by his own standards but he still feels confident about his game.
"The way I am batting, I am really confident. Yes, I did not get many runs but the way I am batting, I am middling the ball really well and batting is all about confidence." Ajinkya said, "Yes, I would like to contribute more to my team and during this last Test match, I will give my best. I have prepared myself really well."
"Preparations have been similar from first Test match to now and whether you are 3-1 down or 3-1 up, it's important you give your best in preparations and go out there and enjoy your batting." he added, "So I am just going to enjoy my batting in the last Test match and as I said, winning this last Test match before going home will be really important,"
Ajinkya was also in high praise of batting great Alastair Cook, who is about to play his last game for England. Having become the highest run-getter for three lions with over 12,254 runs across 160 Tests, Cook announced his retirement at the end of Southampton Test and has the opportunity to go away from the game with his head held high at Oval.
"He [Cook] made his debut against India in India I guess and I think he has been fantastic for England cricket. As an opener, averaging around 45 and playing 160 matches in 12-13 years, I think it's magnificent." Ajinkya said, "Credit to him, the way he handled his batting, technique and pressure from you guys [media]. I would like to wish him the best for his post-cricketing career."
(Inputs from India Today)