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IND vs SL 2017: Team India eyeing to retain number one spot in Tests, says Ajinkya Rahane

Rahane previews India's preparation ahead of the series opener.

By Anshuman Roy -

Rahane will be a key component of India's batting order. (Getty)

With the first test against Sri Lanka scheduled to start from 16th November at Kolkata, vice-captain of the Indian Test team, Ajjinkya Rahane says they are focusing to retain the number one spot in ICC Test rankings.

"This series is completely different compared to what we played in Sri Lanka. We are not taking Sri Lanka lightly even as we had a good series there," Rahane told a news conference on the sidelines of their training at the Eden.

"Right now if we want to remain as number one in Tests. Every series is very important. We want to win each and every series. We know the conditions here."

The low-profile Sri Lanka series is seen as a prelude to their gruelling two months' tour to South Africa against whom they will play three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is in January-February next year.

"For us, each and every match and series is important before going to South Africa. We will think of South Africa when we go there. Right now we are focusing on this series. South Africa will be completely different.

"Even for Sri Lanka this is a very important series and they are preparing really well. We don't want to take them lightly. We are just focusing on this series right now and the first game in Kolkata. We respect Sri Lanka and we just want to play our game, focus on our strengths rather than thinking about their combination or their strategies,"
he said.

Facing Herath will be the key, says Rahane. (Getty)

Rahane has been focusing on sweeping as he thinks that is the best way to limit the threat of the Sri Lankan spinners who have the likes of Rangana Herath in their ranks.

"It's important to improve your game everyday and evolve when you are practising at the nets. I just want to improve. I think if I improve one shot in the nets, I will be better off in the game. If an opportunity comes in the game, I'm 100 percent confident of playing a particular shot. So, practising sweep, reverse sweep and paddle sweep just as options.

"I'm comfortable playing those shots. For me, it's important to give 100 per cent at the nets. I want to do that five-six times at the nets and if I'm comfortable and confident I will play that shot in the game," said Rahane.

Rahane got out for 49 and 45 in his last two Ranji matches against Odisha and Baroda respectively, but he was "not too concerned" about that.

He also kept his view on Hardik Pandya who has been rested for the Sri Lanka test series.

Pandya has been rested for the Test series against Sri Lanka. (Getty)

Apart from training, it's very important to recover. We focus on our training as well as recovery sessions, massage, ice bath, pool sessions. The team management taking care of all these aspects. In future, they will play many matches so recovery is very important."

Asked if Eden wicket will be a green top, he said: "Let's wait for the match to start. We still have two days to go. We have to wait. I've not seen the wicket."

Anshuman Roy

Someone for whom Cricket is more than just a game.