Kanpur: India stand-in Test skipper Ajinkya Rahane on Wednesday said KL Rahul will be missed in the Test series against New Zealand, but he is not too worried about the opening combination.
The first Test of the two-match series between India and New Zealand begins on Thursday in Kanpur. Earlier, India had defeated New Zealand 3-0 in the three-match T20I series. Rahul was ruled out of the series due to a muscle strain, and Suryakumar Yadav was named as a replacement.
"See, it is a big blow. KL Rahul is not available for these two Test matches, he did really well in England. He was in good form and played really well. Obviously, we will miss him but we have guys who can fill that slot, guys who did well for us in the past. Not too worried about the opening slot," said Rahane while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference.
When asked about the conversations with head coach Rahul Dravid, Rahane said: "Rahul bhai just told us to back ourselves and not think too much about it. Pujara and I know our game plan, it is about keeping it simple and backing our plans. If we get in, try to convert it into a big one."
"First of all, we will miss these three guys (Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma). But it is a good opportunity for all the youngsters to play, whoever gets an opportunity, they will look to play with freedom. This team is all about backing one another. Conditions here and conditions in South Africa will be different, first, we are thinking about this series," he added.
When asked about his own form, Rahane said: "I am not concerned about my form, I just think about contributing for the team, it is not always scoring a hundred. I always put the team first. I am very fortunate to lead the country, I am not bothered about what is going to happen. I am just focused on giving my best."
"When I am batting, I am there as a batter. The captaincy hat comes on when I am there in the field. It is all about what sort of game plan we have, what sort of strategy we have. I just like to keep it simple," he added.
Talking about the game plan on spinning tracks, the India stand-in skipper said: "When we play on spin-friendly wickets, it is a challenge for Indian batters also. As I said, if you are in as a batter, you need to capitalise and score big. As long as we win the series, we are just focusing on that," he added.