He's been one of India's top batsmen for the past five years, but Ajinkya Rahane, who'll lead India A in their four day match against New Zealand A at Bay Oval from today, is at the crossroads of his cricketing career.

He's gone 13 tests without scoring a century, has been dropped from the One Day International team and his regular place at No 5 in the batting order is under threat.

But Rahane remains upbeat going into the match in Mount Maunganui and reckons he's in good form.

"Personally I feel I'm in a good space. I played two test matches against the West Indies and then went back and played domestic cricket as well. I'm really looking forward to this game and then going to Australia and looking forward to that important test series in Australia."


It was in Australia four years ago that Rahane was at the peak of his career. Even though India lost the series two-nil, he averaged more than 60 runs per innings and made the second highest score of his test career, 147, in the Boxing Day test at Melbourne.

He'll join the Indian test match squad in Australia after playing here and seems quietly confident that with an Australian team in disarray, India have a great chance to win the series.

"Cricket is all about respecting your opponents and playing to your potential. For us it is important to start well and playing to our potential, rather than thinking about their ability and strengths."

He's as aware as anyone that like most international cricket teams, India's record overseas is not good.

This year they've lost series in South Africa and England. The last two tours of Australia have been unsuccessful.

"I think this is a perfect opportunity to change that record. We're not sure if Steve Smith or David Warner are going to play. Even without them I feel their bowling attack is really good. In their conditions the batsmen really have to concentrate."

Yet despite that run of losses on tour, Rahane's batting record out of India is much better than in matches at home.

Of his nine test centuries, six have been scored overseas - including his first at Wellington in 2013. His overseas test batting average is 46. In India it's just 33.


Rahane is now 30 and even though he's played 90 ODIs, he's been on the outer in 50-over cricket for his country since February in South Africa.

Since then India have played three ODI matches in England and five at home against the West Indies.

He hasn't been required for any of them. But he's still very keen to play in next year's World Cup.

"Yes definitely, and I am sure about it. Playing the World Cup is always a dream. It is just a matter of time, I feel. I believe in my ability and it's important to keep believing in myself and I'm sure I'll be back in ODI cricket as well."

His last innings was in late October for a team called India C. He made 144 not out in a 50-over match against India B.

Now he's leading India A (what's in a name?) and insists the next four days are about having a proper game of cricket and not using the match as practice for the test series in Australia.

"It's all about playing to win all the time. That's our aim and that's how we look at this game. It's important whether you're playing a club game or an international game you should think about the team, not the individual.

"For me and any individual in this team, they're not looking for any batting practice or bowling practice. We're playing as a team and to win this game."