India batsman Ajinkya Rahane on Saturday (February 3) opened up about his batting position in the current ODI setup, saying that he would prefer to stay at the crucial No. 4 spot. Rahane made a well-composed 79 while batting at No. 4 in India’s 6-wicket win over South Africa in the first ODI at Kingsmead, Durban on Thursday (February 1).
"I am better equipped for batting at number four, I am more matured now. I know how to build my innings at number four," Rahane said while addressing the media on the eve of the second ODI.
"Batting at number four is different. The confidence came from last Test win at Johannesburg, where I scored 48 runs. But I was actually determined to do well at that slot because I have batted at that position during the 2015 World Cup (in Australia and New Zealand)," he further added.
Talking about his individual performance in the first ODI, Rahane seemed pretty satisfied. He put on 189-run stand for the third wicket with skipper Virat Kohli as India chased down South Africa’s target of 270 with 27 balls to spare.
"We knew that it (270) was a par score on that wicket. Our bowlers did a really good job. Personally, I really enjoyed batting at that particular position and I am looking forward to doing even better," quoted Rahane.
Before the start of this ODI series, Rahane was dubbed as a reserved opener by the Indian team management. When asked about the challenges of batting two-down with a different mindset, the elegant right-hander said: "It's all about how you think, especially when you bat at Nos 3 and 4, it's all about how you think. My mindset was just to take my time initially and then later on back my instincts.
"I am naturally an attacking batsman and these wickets suit me a lot. There is good pace and bounce. So these wickets suit me a lot. So my plan was to take my time initially and if I get set, then carry on my innings," he elaborated.
The 29-year-old Rahane also revealed that he enjoys facing quality fast bowling and teams like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand always bring the best out of him.
"I enjoy playing against every opponent but I think teams like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, they have very good attacks in world cricket and I enjoy facing fast bowlers.
"I enjoy facing challenges, and when you play in South Africa against this sort of attack you know that you are up for the challenge. We don't take them lightly. As I mentioned, I just wanted to take my time but I enjoyed facing this challenge," Ajinkya asserted.
The Mumbai also stated that his mind was completely blank prior to the series.
"I was completely blank. I wasn't thinking about any result. Ahead of this (series), I didn't know what was going to happen. I was just thinking about what would be my role in the series. I just wanted to keep contributing towards the win. Right now, the team management told me to bat at No 4 position. So I just want to give my best shot," concluded Rahane.