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India's stand in captain Rahane determined to be his own man after Kohli exit

25 December 2020 - 14:00 By Reuters
Ajinkya Rahane famously led India to a test victory over Australia two years ago in the absence of Virat Kohli.
Ajinkya Rahane famously led India to a test victory over Australia two years ago in the absence of Virat Kohli.
Image: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Ajinkya Rahane has soaked up regular skipper Virat Kohli's parting words but is determined to be his own man as he takes charge for India's last three matches against Australia, the 32-year-old said on Friday.

Kohli returned home to attend the birth of his first child after the tourists were thrashed inside three days in the day-night series opener in Adelaide.

Rahane's composure is in stark contrast to Kohli's animated presence but the middle-order batsman drew inspiration from his experience of leading India to a test victory against Australia in a 2017 test.

"Backing your instincts as a captain, remaining calm under pressure, backing your own strength, your own methods...I really learnt a lot during that test match," Rahane said on the eve of the Boxing Day test match from Saturday.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity, responsibility as well. I don't want to put myself under pressure."

In Kohli's absence, Rahane faces an unenviable task against a buoyant Australia side seeking to avenge their first ever test series loss to India two years ago.

Rahane, who also led India to victory in Afghanistan's debut test in 2018, said his composure should not be mistaken for lack of aggression.

"Personally, I stay calm and cool but my batting is generally aggressive. I back my instinct, it's all about playing as a team from tomorrow."

Asked if Kohli had any parting message for the team, Rahane said, "We had a team dinner in Adelaide, and he spoke to all of us - about being positive, just playing to our strengths and playing as a unit."

Compared to Kohli's hands-on captaincy, Rahane's leadership is more democratic and the Mumbai player confirmed he would not station himself at mid-off and spoon-feed his bowlers.

"I generally stand at gully, even as a captain, so you will see me standing at gully tomorrow," he said with a smile.