New Delhi: Rohit's Sharma ravishing display with the willow or spin-twin Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal's deceptive deliveries might have grabbed ample attention in the recently concluded five-match-ODI series against Australia, but one can't surely rule out opener Ajinkya Rahane's consistency with the bat – his four consecutive fifty-plus scores in the series stands as an example – that did make a difference their chase to bid to bigger totals. Yet he failed to make it to the T20I squad for India's three-match series against the Aussies. But Rahane unfazed with his removal said on Monday that he completely respects selectors' decision.
He may not have top scored for his side in any of the five ODIs against Australia in the recently concluded series, but it was his consistency with the scores that made a difference. Called in as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan, Rahane failed to live up to the expectation with a score of just five in the first ODI, played in Chennai. But he bounced back with scores of 55, 70, 53, 61 – that helped his side to pick up that initial momentum. In fact, with four consecutive fifty-plus scores, he joined Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, who has a similar record to their name.
And on Sunday, almost an hour after the match, the T20I squad was announced. Shikhar Dhawan was back alongside his old partner Rohit Sharma in the opening slot, but Rahane's name wasn't on the 15-member list.
"Yes, so much cricket we play, the team management, selectors take a decision and we respect it. Speaking about the competition, it is necessary and it helps you to give your best performance. Whoever gets a chance does well for the team. I have always enjoyed the competition (among players)," Rahane told reporters in Mumbai.
Talking about his form and performance as an opener in the Australia series, Rahane said, "Yes, I am happy. The responsibility and the opportunity I was given, the way I was supposed to bat, I did. Definitely, I am happy with the form I have carried from the West Indies tour, I have made four consecutive fifties.
"I could have converted the fifties into hundreds. It was in my mind to contribute, I shared three 100-run stands with Rohit (Sharma) and our aim was to give a good start to the team," he added, "In the future series if I get a chance I will convert the 50s into 100s."
Talking about the team as a whole and their slow and steady progression towards 2019 Cricket World Cup, Rahane added, "It is a proud moment for all of us. Our aim is 2019 World Cup and we are going in that direction. For that we have to play series by series and match by match, the aim of this team is to win every match and series, and we always try to improve.
"All have performed. In the middle-order Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, whenever they got opportunity, they have performed. Rohit and Virat (Kohli) have always performed well. Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal got a chance and they did well. Our bench strength is good. The fact that all of us get a chance and perform is a good sign. If you have to win the 2019 World Cup, then you have to test your bench strength."