When India’s senior selection committee announced the limited-overs squad for England tour, there was one notable omission in the list. Ajinkya Rahane, who averages 35.26 in ODI cricket despite playing at different positions, was left out from the 16-member squad and it didn’t take long for cricket experts and fans to question the selection.
However, Rahane being an eternal optimist is not quite disappointed with the selectors’ decision as he feels the exclusion from the limited-overs side will give him enough time to prepare for England Tests.
India’s tour of England will kick off from July 3 where they will play three T20Is and as many ODIs before featuring in a five-match Test series from August 1.
"It is important that you get time to prepare yourself and clarity is important, when you know that you are not in ODI squad and you just going to play Test matches in England. I will get good amount of time for the Afghanistan Test and after that for the England tour," Rahane quoted as saying by PTI.
"No, I am not at all frustrated; actually the thing is I can tell you this is actually motivating me, because I am actually looking to make a comeback. Right now, my focus is on Test cricket. I still believe that I can come back and do well in shorter formats with World Cup (2019) coming up," he added.
There is no doubt that Rahane hasn’t proved his mettle in limited-overs cricket as compared to his Test credentials. But the major rationale behind this is his uncertain batting position. Nonetheless, India’s Test vice-captain is still hopeful that he can turn the table.
"I still believe in myself. I did well in ODI cricket whenever I got my opportunities. In West Indies, I got man-of-the-series award (with four half-centuries). Against Australia, I did really well. In South Africa, the team management asked me to bat at No 4 and I did well, so it is just a matter of time. I am still confident that I will make a comeback and do well for my country in shorter format," the 29-year-old remarked.
Pakistan may have thrashed England in the first Test at Lord’s, but Rahane feels it is very hard to judge the English side on the basis of one bad Test.
"It is very hard to judge (England) right now. Playing in England at their own backyard is always a challenge. Yes, Pakistan played very well. They bowled and batted well but there is still sometime to go for our series. We can't take England for granted as they can comeback anytime," he asserted.
Prior to the England Test series, Rahane will be leading India in Afghanistan’s historic Test debut in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli.
"Right now, our focus should be on Afghanistan Test match and then think about England. We can by no means take Afghanistan lightly. The world accepts and respects Rashid Khan as a quality bowler. Whether in life or cricket, nothing can be taken for granted," Ajinkya said.
"Qualifying for a Test is the biggest thing for Afghanistan cricket and that is good for cricket. We need to go out there and play with the good intensity like we play with every other team," he concluded.