Ajinkya Rahane admits India’s focus on WTC final

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India beneath Virat Kohli haven’t but gained a world honour. They are seemingly hell-bent on successful the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).

Quotes like ‘taking one game at a time’, ‘focusing on the next match’ and ‘focusing on the England series’ from the Indian gamers masks the group’s burning want, finally laid naked by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday.

“Winning the World Test Championship final is equal to winning the World Cup. We are all focusing on that,” mentioned Rahane. At little bit of balancing act adopted: “But having said that, focus is to play this game, fourth Test and then think about it.”

Ishant Sharma had earlier spoken concerning the significance of successful the WTC. But Rahane spoke on behalf of the Indian group administration, testifying the quick bowler’s views. “Ishant was completely right,” Rahane mentioned.

India are at the moment main the continuing four-match collection 2-1 and there’s the small matter of at the least drawing the final Test in Ahmedabad – a purple ball recreation – to safe qualification for the WTC final, to be performed at Lord’s in June. A 2-1 collection victory can be sufficient for India, however on one other turner, as Rahane mentioned, the hosts will play to win.

“We always look to win a Test match and this Test match is no different. Definitely, this Test match is really important and we are just focusing on winning the Test match and then get that spot in the Championship final. But for that, we have to follow the process, play some good cricket. We aren’t taking England lightly at all. We know how important this game is and this means a lot to us.”

Right from the beginning of the continuing WTC cycle, India have been table-toppers by way of absolute factors. But in November final yr, the ICC’s Cricket Committee headed by Anil Kumble determined to make the Covid-forced cancelled matches null and void and decide the WTC league standings solely from the matches performed. It made the share of factors (PCT) earned from matches performed all-important. It made India’s job troublesome. They all of a sudden slipped down the WTC desk, with a Test collection in Australia looming.

That frontier conquered, India unexpectedly hit a highway bump within the first Test in opposition to England in Chennai. A message, as this paper has learnt, went out from the group administration to supply rank turners for the following two Tests. Virat Kohli and Co at the moment are sitting fairly on high of the WTC desk, solely a draw away from dealing with New Zealand at Lord’s.

Kohli took cost of the Test group in 2015 after MS Dhoni retired from long-form cricket. He targeted on constructing the group for all situations. From being No. 7 within the ICC Test rankings on the finish of 2014 – solely above West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe – India climbed as much as develop into the top-ranked group and stayed there for greater than three years. The ICC mace was duly obtained, however silverware remained elusive. That India misplaced the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final to Pakistan beneath Kohli’s captaincy adopted by the 2019 World Cup semifinal to New Zealand didn’t assist issues by way of successful a world occasion. The WTC final can be a chance to make amends.

Kohli has at all times put Test cricket on a pedestal. Little marvel then that the mid-competition rule change irked him. “It is definitely surprising because we were told that points are a matter of contention for the top two teams qualifying in World Test Championships and now suddenly it has become percentage out of nowhere, so it is confusing and difficult to understand why,” he had mentioned forward of India’s first ODI in Australia.

‘Similar wicket’

Much to the group’s benefit, one other rank turner is anticipated for the final Test. “I think the wicket would be similar, like we had in the third Test (here) and also in the second Test match that we played in Chennai. It would be a spinning track. Yes, the pink ball was coming much quicker off the wicket compared to the red ball, but as I said, the wicket would be a lot similar,” Rahane mentioned.

Rahane is just not complicating issues by way of enjoying spin on turners. “When you play on spinning tracks, you have to play the line. If the ball is spinning too much, you don’t have to think about it. If you miss the ball, you miss the ball. That’s it. Backing your defence, backing your ability is the key and that’s what we follow.”

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