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‘I need to be ready with answers’ – Ajinkya Rahane opens up on working with captain Kohli

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ajinkya Rahane, while in conversation with Deep Dasgupta on ESPN Cricinfo, opened up on his experience of working as a vice-captain to captain Virat Kohli.

Currently India’s vice-captain in Test cricket, Rahane takes ‘the backseat’ and allows the skipper to call the shots. He generally keeps a set of plans ready other than making the odd instinctive suggestion.

“Basically my role as vice-captain is to take the backseat,” he said. “I don’t get too involved in the proceedings. The captain already has a lot of thoughts in his mind. As a vice-captain, my role is to keep my set of plans ready. Of course, there are times that I give instinctive suggestions but mostly I take the backseat. When Virat needs a suggestion at a point of time, then I should be ready with the answers, that how we should plan at this juncture of the match.

“There is already a lot of things working in the captain’s mind, in terms of which bowler to use, how to set the field. So as a vice-captain, it’s important to analyse the situation and be ready with plans accordingly and support the captain. And be ready with suggestions and solutions whenever he needs some. Quite often you get the feeling that a certain plan might not work, so telling the captain about your thought process and what I think might work in a certain situation.”

Rahane also opened up on captaining India in the last Test of their four-match home series against Australia in 2017. With Kohli out injured and the series level at one match apiece, Rahane led the side to an eight-wicket victory in Dharamsala.

“Leading India was pretty special for me, particularly in that Test match, which was a crucial one (against Australia in 2017),” Rahane said. “I had never thought that I would be captaining the team. I was told that I’ll be informed on the eve of the match, maybe because of Virat’s fitness tests, if I’ll be leading the team in the next match.

“So I had no idea if I’ll be the captain in the next match. But then Virat informed that you’ll be leading because I’m not fit enough. Anil bhai [Kumble] was the coach then and he also told me that Virat can’t play so you’ll lead. That moment was very special for me and I couldn’t believe that I would be leading the side. And the series was 1-1 then and to go and win it 2-1, in your first match as a captain was really special for me.”

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