Tons against Proteas a boost before Australia tour: Rahane

Mumbai, Jan 5 (IANS) India star batsman Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday said the two centuries he scored against South Africa in final Test in Delhi has given him great confidence to perform even better in the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia.

The Mumbai right-hander, who scored 127 in the first innings in fourth and final Test against South Africa in December, remained unbeaten on 100 with eight boundaries and three sixes for the sixth Test ton of his career.

India will be playing five One-Day Internationals (ODI) against Australia starting on January 12 in Perth followed by three Twenty20 Internationals.

“The two hundreds I got against South Africa in the fourth Test gave me a lot of confidence ahead of this Australia tour. I have done normal preparations and nothing special for the tour. I am ready to do any task assigned by the team to me,” Rahane said at a press conference here before leaving for Australia.

“I will look to improve on my game as much as possible. I am confident of doing well in Australia,” he said.

Youngsters Gurkeerat Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Varinder Sran and Manish Pandey are included in the ODI squad while Hardik Pandya is included in the T20 squad.

Speaking on the lack of experience in the young squad, the Mumbai-based batsman said it will be a big challenge for the young guns to perform against a top side like Australia.

“It will be a big challenge for us to do well there. We have a young team and all have done well in the domestic season leading up to the tour, and we will give our best for this,” he said.

Australia will miss recently retired Mitchell Johnson and the injured Mitchell Starc in their bowling line-up but Rahane feels that the hosts still have a strong bowling line-up despite the absence of the star pace duo.

The Australian selectors have named Glenn Maxwell as the only spinner in their squad, pointing out that the pitches in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney would assist the quick bowlers.

Uncappped fast bowlers Scott Boland and Joel Paris are in line for their international debuts after being named in the squad, besides Josh Hazlewood and James Faulkner.

“Despite the fact that Starc and Johnson are not in the squad, the bowling line-up still looks strong with Hazelwood and others. It doesn’t matter whom we face. We will give our best against them,” Rahane concluded.

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