Senior India batsman Ajinkya Rahane has said more than averages, it is his contribution towards the team's cause that matters to him.
"When you bat in India at number 5 or 6, you usually walk in when your team is at 300 for 3 or 350 for 3. By that time, you have to accelerate to make runs because teams want to declare," Rahane said in the latest episode of ESPNcricinfo Cricketbaazi as India's Test vice-captain spoke to former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta.
"But when you're playing abroad, even if you walk in after a good partnership, like I did in Melbourne, the ball is still really hard, the wicket is good so you are able to play your shots. It helps even more if you are an attacking player like me. You have more time to play your shots abroad. Averages don't matter that much to me. I think your contribution at the right time matters a lot," said the 32-year old who has played 65 Tests for India.
Rahane is also one of the best slip fielders in the world.
"Before my Ranji Trophy debut, during my U-19 days, I took a lot of good catches in the slip. My coach thought that finally they have found a good slip fielder. But then after seeing my disappointing performance in the slips during my first Ranji season, they started to doubt my capabilities.
"I felt terrible that I was dropping so many catches. It was my first season at Ranji and I was nervous. But then I realised that a player has such seasons too in life. Anybody can drop catches. I started practising catches. I would take 100 catches in every training session. I would even practise taking catches alone to get an idea of the angle at which the ball arrives, I would also practice one-handed catches to see how much I could stretch. This practice made me a good fielder at slips," narrated the ace Mumbai batsman.
Commenting on what kind of temperament does one need to be a good slip fielder, he said: "It is important to be relaxed and calm while fielding in the slips. You need to know when to switch on and switch off. You can't always be switched on. You need to be switched on for three to four seconds, when it's important, and then switch off. If you don't do that, you might lose focus when you really need it."
Rahane also shared the advice he got from batting legend and former India captain Rahul Dravid.
"Don't bother about what your shots are going to look like. Just watch the ball and hit it. What matters is how impactful your inning is. So the longer you bat, better your strike rate gets," he said of what Dravid told him.
Rahane joined the national team in 2011. Recalling what it was like to be among the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag, Rahane said: "It was unreal. My mind went blank for some time when I was sitting among them and watching them have fun in the dressing room.
"They all seemed serious on the outside, but they used to have fun in the dressing room. They all made me feel comfortable and would keep asking me if I wanted throwdowns during our net sessions. I think I learnt a lot from how they prepared before every match. I used to watch their routines. Each of them had a different routine that I'd follow closely and learn a lot from."