`Good start important to get momentum’


Ahead Of First Test, Rahane Says Focus Is Not On The Pitch

Ajinkya Rahane makes his presence felt on the cricket field in his own understated way . Unlike some of his more flamboyant teammates, the Mumbaikar is the `Mr Cool’ of the Indian team, one who loves to accumulate runs and grind down the rival bowlers with patience.He may not have been in the spotlight most of the times, but has already amassed 1862 runs in 26 Tests -with a healthy average of 49.00 -since making his debut against Australia in March 2013. And now, the 28-year-old believes are really exciting times for him and his team as they get ready to play 13 Tests at home.

Talking to reporters here on Monday , Rahane said that after a good away series in West Indies, the team will have the momentum when it takes on New Zealand at the Green Park stadium here from September 22 -in what is a historic 500th Test for the home side.

“A good beginning is a must to carry forward the momentum. The first Test will be crucial as it will set the tone for the rest of the series. As this is the 500th Test, we want to win here.That will be the biggest celebration for the side.“

He refused to dwell much on the behavior of the wicket. “Traditionally it has been slow and low. How it will behave in the coming days I don’t know. Hopefully , it should turn, as wickets generally do in India. But instead of focusing on the wicket, we would like to focus on our cricket.“

Rahane cautioned that the opponents were no push-overs. “They (the New Zealanders) have played some decent cricket of late, and we can’t take them lightly .“

He added that the Kiwis have some good spinners and effective left-arm medium pacers who can make a statement. “You can’t judge bowlers by just one practice match,“ he said when told that the visiting spin trio of Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Mark Craig was not very effective in the three-day game against Mumbai in New Delhi. “Playing a practice match is different, and playing in Tests is different.“

India have brought in two left-arm medium-pacers ­ Pradeep Sangwan of Delhi and Aniket Chaudhary of Rajasthan -as net bowlers to get used to the angles of the southpaws.



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