CSK gave me opportunity to express myself: Rahane

Kolkata: Ajinkya Rahane has credited talisman MS Dhoni’s leadership for his transformation at Chennai Super Kings as the veteran Indian batter continued to wow fans with his never-seen-before power hitting in this season’s Indian Premier League.

Rahane slammed his second half-century of the season, an eye-popping 29-ball 71 not out, to lead CSK’s 49-run rout of KKR in their IPL match here on Sunday.

“The only thing I tell you… I really enjoyed my knock, really happy that we won this match,” Rahane said at the post-match press conference.

Giving credit to Dhoni, Rahane said he just needed an opportunity, something the World Cup-winning skipper gave him to rediscover his form.

“You get a chance to learn many things when you play under Mahi Bhai (MS Dhoni). As a batter and cricketer, you always want to grow,” he said.

“The way the format is evolving, I feel as an individual you have to keep growing and developing your skills.” Rahane has 209 runs from five innings with an average of 52.25 this season. And his tournament strike-rate — 199.04 — is the highest among specialist batters.

“My preparation has always been good. I always tried to improve myself, develop one or two new shots.

“Now I’m able to show my shots because of my preparation so far and the opportunity given my CSK,” said Rahane.

Can’t show how good I am if I’m not playing: =========================== Rahane was with KKR last season and got limited opportunity to play under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer. He played seven matches and scored just 133 runs at a strike rate of under 104.

The 34-year-old batter, who lost his place in the Test side after the series in South Africa in January last year, got a new lease of life after being bought by the Dhoni-led side.

CSK were the only side who bid for Rahane, at his base price of Rs 50 lakh.

“The turning point is here I’m getting chances to play. I was really happy when CSK picked me. They gave me opportunity to play and express myself,” Rahane said.

“If you see, I was not getting opportunities to play one-two years ago. And, if you don’t play matches, how would you show what shots do you have in your armoury,” he continued.

“You can’t show them your stroke making if you are not playing consistently.” Asked whether the stunning knock was a response to the snub he got at KKR, Rahane said: “You guys have to decide that. For me, it’s all about doing well for CSK, I let my bat do the talking.” Best is yet to come: ============ Sidelined from the Indian team, Rahane’s form may just open the window for a comeback in the white-ball format. Rahane last played T20 Internationals way back in 2016, while he has not played an ODI since 2018.

But Rahane wants to live in the present and keep doing well for CSK.

“Naturally there will be talks when someone does well. I’m happy that people are saying good things about me, thinking about me. But my job is to stay in the moment, think about one match at a time and contribute well for CSK.

“I still feel my best is yet to come, really enjoyed all the knocks (this season).

“I just want to keep batting the same way, keep contributing for the team, not thinking too much about myself, the results and outcome. If I do that I will be really happy,” he said.

Rahane further said he always was hungry for doing well for his team, be it for his franchise or India.

“Intent for me is all about doing well for the team, whether I’m playing for CSK or Indian team. Keep thinking about the team rather than thinking about yourself, you own result or the outcome.

“Intent is about how badly you want to do well for your team, and how badly you are thinking about your team. So that’s my only thing,” he signed off.