The jury is still out on his utility as a limited overs batsman but Ajinkya Rahane admitted that he never lost confidence in his ability despite being out of favour in the 50-over format for a long time. Rahane has scores of 62, 103 and 72 to show for his efforts as an opener in the current West Indies tour in the absence of Rohit Sharma and is ready to make every chance count. "Not at all," Rahane said emphatically when asked if he had started doubting his abilities after being out of playing XI in ODIs.
"It was a matter of getting good runs and getting it consistently, I was waiting for this chance. I want to thank Virat (Kohli) and team management as they gave me an opportunity to bat at top of the order," Rahane said after India won the third ODI against West Indies by 93 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 5-match series.
Asked if he could shift gears like Rohit does after a sedate start, Rahane replied: "I know I took some time (on 72 off 112 balls) but if I stay there, I can make it count. I don't take things for granted. I can make up (for slow starts). I can read game situations and play accordingly."
He doesn't know what will happen when Rohit comes back during Sri Lanka series and that's why he would prefer to live in present rather than fretting on his batting slot.
"I believe, it's a team sport and I have to give my hundred percent wherever team management asks me to bat. Whether it's top or middle, I always want to do well. In future, I don't know what will happen but now I really want to focus on each match and series, here," he said.
Rahane relies on his instincts but believes that one needs to adapt according to pitch conditions as he did during his patient innings in the third ODI.
"I am an instinctive player but at the highest level, you have to adapt. This wicket (Antigua) was completely different to Trinidad and the ball is stopping and there was uneven bounce on the wicket. We had to take our time.
"When myself and Mahi bhai (Dhoni) and before that Yuvi paaji (Yuvraj) were batting, we decided on a total of around 225-230. This was not like Port of Spain where you could play your shots," said Rahane.
Rahane said that the time he got while not being in the XI was well spent on improving his fitness which is helping him in humid Caribbean conditions.
"I worked on my batting as well as fitness. We have been playing non-stop cricket till IPL. You don't get time to work separately on your fitness. The time I got in England helped me work on my batting as well as fitness. It is helping me in these hot conditions," he said.
(With PTI inputs)