Want to remain number one in tests, says Ajinkya Rahane

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India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday said their 9-0 clean sweep in Sri Lanka will have no bearing in the return series and they remain focussed on maintaining the No. 1 spot in Tests. India swept Sri Lanka across all formats in a full series in the island nation. Now India are hosting a return series comprising three Tests and equal number of ODIs and T20Is.

“This series is completely different compared to what we played in Sri Lanka. We are not taking Sri Lanka lightly even as we had a good series there,” Rahane told a news conference on the sidelines of their training at the Eden.

“Right now if we want to remain as number one in Tests. Every series is very important. We want to win each and every series. We know the conditions here.” The low-profile Sri Lanka series is seen as a prelude to their gruelling two months’ tour to South Africa against whom they will play three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is in January-February next year.

“For us each and every match and series is important before going to South Africa. We will think of South Africa when we go there. Right now we are focusing on this series. South Africa will be completely different.

“Even for Sri Lanka this is a very important series and they are preparing really well. We don’t want to take them lightly. We are just focusing on this series right now and the first game in Kolkata. We respect Sri Lanka and we just want to play our game, focus on our strengths rather than thinking about their combination or their strategies,” he said.

Since their third and last Test in Sri Lanka from August 12-14, India have been playing back to back limited overs matches, which included series against Australia and New Zealand at home. “Everyone knows how to adapt and adjust to all the

formats. I don’t think we will have any problem. All the players are professionals. I don’t think will have problem in adjustment. The first Test here is important to get the momentum.”

All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the Test series and Rahane said it was important to manage the workload. “Apart from training it’s very important to recover. We focus on our training as well as recovery sessions, massage, ice bath, pool sessions. The team management taking care of all these aspects. In future they will play many matches so recovery is very important.”

Asked if Eden wicket will be a green top, he said: “Let’s wait for the match to start. We still have two days to go. We have to wait. I’ve not seen the wicket.”