Ahead of the first Test on India’s tour of the West Indies, Ajinkya Rahanethe vice-captain of the team, emphasized that the visitors would not underestimate their opponents despite the home team’s recent difficulties.
The West Indies have faced challenges, including their failure to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, marking the first time they will be absent from the ODI showpiece event.

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“We have had good preparation. We played a nice practice match. We as a team respect West Indies. They are not the ones to be taken lightly. West Indies has performed well at home during the last couple of years or so, especially in Tests. We are looking to give our 100 per cent and backing our gameplan and strengths,” said Rahane in a pre-match press conference.
Rahane also expressed happiness for young Mumbai batter Yashasvi Jaiswal, who has been called up for the national side for this series and could make his international debut.

“I am so happy for Jaiswal. He has worked so hard, scored runs for Mumbai in domestic cricket and the IPL. He is an exciting talent and the way he is batting is nice. My message to him is that he expresses himself while batting, plays with freedom and does not think much about the fact that he is playing international cricket,” he said.
Jaiswal concluded the IPL 2023 season as the fifth-highest run scorer, impressively accumulating 625 runs in 15 matches at an average of 48.07. His remarkable performance included one century and five half-centuries. In first-class cricket, Jaiswal’s talent shines bright with a total of 1,845 runs scored in 15 appearances, boasting an impressive average of 80.21. He has notched up nine centuries and two half-centuries in this format.
With Cheteshwar Pujara absent, Rahane acknowledged the opportunity for players to seize the number three batting position.

Rahane added that he is “used to” the responsibilities that come with the role of a vice-captain.
“I am used to this role. I was vice-captain for 4-5 years. I am really happy to be back in the team, really happy to be back as vice-captain. I am still young, still a lot of cricket left in me.
“My IPL was good, so was my domestic cricket season. Currently, I am really enjoying my cricket. I do not want to think much about future. Now, every match is important, be it for me or from the team’s point of view. I am focusing on that,” he said.

Rahane said playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL gave him freedom.
“I was given a role. I was earlier playing as an anchor. CSK told me to play my natural game. My natural game involves a lot of strokeplay and looking out for runs. Here, I will fulfill whatever role Rohit (Sharma) gives me,” said Rahane.
Rahane had an exceptional IPL 2023 season, revealing an unprecedented version of himself that launched an aggressive assault on the bowlers right from the first ball. Across 11 innings, he amassed a total of 326 runs, showcasing an average of 32.60 and an impressive strike rate of 172.48. Rahane’s outstanding performance included two half-centuries, highlighted by a remarkable unbeaten knock of 71 runs in a mere 29 deliveries.
The vice-captain hailed Rohit’s leadership.

“I like playing under Rohit. The WTC final was my first match under Rohit. He gives everyone freedom and backs them (players). This is a good sign of a captain,” he added.
(With agency inputs)


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