Few batsmen can match Ajinkya Rahane in terms of mental toughness and grit. The 28-year-old Mumbaikar has time and come up with great knocks under pressure has now been saddled with a new responsibility. He has been made vice captain of the Indian team for the West Indies tour which starts from next Saturday (July9).

“There is no doubt that technique plays an important role in shaping a batsman’s fortunes at the international level. But more than technique what I think what counts is the mental toughness of a batsman. For me its about how tough a batsman—-which is an important factor which determines his success,” said Rahane.

Further, he said that modern day cricket is a mind game. “Its all about the ability to focus and cut out everything  else. I feel that I firmly believe that 85 per cent of batting is a mind game.” Elaborating on what he does for enhancing his mental toughness, Rahane  said that he spent some time on  meditating. I do spend time daily on meditating. This happens mostly after I have done my training and practice sessions,” Rahane said.

Rahane has been putting in a lot of hardwork on his physical conditioning as well. :”During the off season (which began after the end of IPL). I have worked  hard on my physical fitness under the watchful eyes of my coach Parveen Amre. I am happy with my physical and mental condition right now,” Rahane said.

Looking ahead at the West Indies tour which is a long tour 49 days, Rahane said his aim was to contribute to the team’s success— personal milestones were secondary  “The tour to West Indies isn’t going to be any different in that sense. I will be preparing as per the requirements there and I will be looking to contribute to the team’s cause,” he said.

When queried whether he had set himself some goals, the Mumbaikar replied in the negative.

 «I don’t keep goals of runs or hundreds because I feel that if you are chasing such goals then sometimes the mind runs ahead into the future. What I always want is to think about what is going on in this moment. I will look to give my best and will be happy when I can contribute to the team’s Test success. The Indian team is scheduled to play four Test matches.

When asked how he views the new role as vice captain, Rahane said he was looking forward to the new challenge. “I am definitely excited about the role and looking forward to the tour to West Indies. This added responsibility will extract the best out of me because I like taking responsibilities As a player, as a vice-captain you are constantly thinking about the game and want to be ready  with alternatives and suggestions when the captain asks for your view.

He also said that he would be enjoying to work under Virat Kohli. “I am looking forward to deputing under Virat. He is an aggressive and thinking captain. When Virat asks me I should have an answer as to what can be done then.,” he added.

Rahane has been performing consistently in all three formats of the game but being humble is his mantra in life. “Be humble no matter what the situation; be respectful. It is important to stay humble; stay the same, because mentally if you are on same path through success or failures it will take you further ahead in life,” Rahane concluded.

The first Test will begin on July 21 at the Vivian Richards Stadium in A ntigua and Barbuda while the second Test will be played from July 30 at the Sabina Park in Jamaica.

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