MUMBAI, (Reuters) – Ajinkya Rahane admits he was stunned to be named India captain for their upcoming Zimbabwe series, after being dropped just a week earlier, and while he plans to draw inspiration from past skippers he also wants to make his own mark on the team.
Rahane, who averages a tad over 30 in one-day internationals, played the first of India’s three-match series against Bangladesh at Mirpur and scored nine off 25 balls as they went down by 79 runs.
He was dropped for the next two matches, with regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying the 27-year-old’s batting was more suited to pitches offering more pace.
But that did not stop India from putting Rahane in charge of a second-string squad for this month’s tour of Zimbabwe for three ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals while resting Dhoni and a host of other senior cricketers.
“The decision of naming me captain did come as a surprise because I wasn’t thinking about captaincy ever,” Rahane, who has played 55 ODIs, told the Indian cricket board’s website (BCCI.TV). “I didn’t know how to react when I heard the news.
“Once the news slowly began to sink in, I became really confident of handling this new responsibility.”
The 2-1 ODI series loss was India’s first to Bangladesh, and another loss against Zimbabwe would not go down well with the country’s cricket-crazy fans despite the lack of senior players in the touring party.