Bengaluru: No longer a certainty in the shorter formats, India's stand-in Test captain Ajinkya Rahane on Wednesday said he will talk to the national selection committee in order to get a clearer picture about his mode of preparation for the upcoming Test series in England.
After the one-off Afghanistan Test match, Rahane has nothing to look forward to as he has been dropped from the limited-overs side which is going to United Kingdom first. The Test series against England is scheduled to start on 1 August after a limited-overs series featuring three T20 Internationals and an equal number of ODIs beginning 3 July.
Asked what will he do for the next one and half months, a normally defensive Rahane let his guard down for moment.
"See, I don't know what's going to happen after this Test match. But yeah, I will definitely have a word with the selectors," Rahane's indecisiveness was palpable before he again tightened his defences.
While there are talks that he might play a few games for India A, there's no official word on the matter.
"But I will start my preparation in Mumbai as I always do at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). I always prepare intensely before each and every series but as of now the focus on this Test match. Each and every Test counts and we need to win this one," Rahane said.
Afghanistan might be newcomers but Rahane emphasised on the need to be "ruthless" against a Test side even if it's making a debut on the big stage.
"We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team...bowlers (are good).
"As a Test team, we cannot take anyone for granted because cricket is a funny game. We want to go out there and be ruthless. Yes, we respect them as our opponents but it's important for us to go out there and give more than our 100. We just need to be ruthless," Rahane said.
Like Dinesh Karthik, Rahane also didn't want to read too much into Afghan captain Asghar Stanikzai's statement about the visiting spinners being superior to the Indian trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
"Every member will like to believe that their team is good. We all know the stats but we don't want to focus on the stats. Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep are experienced spinners. On a given day, it's the mindset that makes a difference," Rahane said.
For Rahane, the last three days have been about tuning out of the IPL.
"We have had a couple of practice sessions in Bangalore and it was fantastic. Coming back from IPL, it's important that we train our minds.
"Getting back to Test mode from T20 is about tuning our minds rather than focusing on skills. We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly.
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The duo was already under tremendous pressure after Pujara managed just 3 runs and Rahane got out for a golden duck in the first innings.
In all likelihood, the statistics will be the final nail in the coffin when Chetan Sharma and his colleagues pick the squad for the next Test series in India.
Elgar (46 batting off 121 balls) took some nasty blows off deliveries that spat off the cracks but kept his team on course at 118 for 2 in pursuit of a tricky 240-run target set by India in the wake of a solid century-plus partnership from the under-fire duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane