India’s two most experienced and consistent Test batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara created a solid start in the second Test against Sri Lanka which made it easier for the Indian bowlers to capitalise on the momentum and execute their plan. Ahead of the third and final Test in the series, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara asked each other about their game plans, practice sessions, among other things.
On being asked about remaining calm on the field, Rahane said, “I used to do yoga and meditation which has helped me a lot in staying calm and composed on the field and making important decisions.”
Pujara was asked about sledging during the match, to which he replied, “I did not used to sledge earlier but now I am learning to sledge as it is a crucial part of the game and you need to learn a little bit of that, but it should not be personal.”
India lost three crucial wickets at 133 in the first innings of the second Test, on being asked about Rahane’s approach when he came out to bat, he replied,”I planned to take some time at the crease and I was also visualising the game in the dressing room and made up my mind to unsettle the spinners because I knew the more we play on the front foot, the more we will get runs at the backfoot, although there is a risk factor in taking charge at the bowlers but sometimes it is necessary.”
Rahane also gave his views about his slip fielding improvement,”I used to drop a lot of catches and as a result I used to get shifted from one position to another which hurt me a lot, so the last time India toured Sri Lanka in 2015, I decided to take 100 catches in every practice session which helped my slip fielding but I still want to keep improving at slip as it is a very crucial position in terms of taking catches.”
Rahane hardly takes time to settle in any format of the game, be it T20, one-day or Tests, regarding his ability to adjust to different formats without any effort, he said, “I like to keep a simple approach in every format and like to take some time to settle down. Also during practice sessions, I try to play different shots to help myself improvise them during the match.”
India’s solid first down Test batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara has been consistent with his form in the longer format of the game. “I got my first triple hundred in U-14 and everything started from there, I played for U-19 and then Ranji Trophy where I played for Saurashtra, so I always felt if you need to win a four-day game, you need to score big. I feel that hundred is not enough in a longer format and if you can score 150 or 200 then why not go for it.” Pujara said.