India’s Ajinkya Rahane to take ‘back seat’ as he hands captaincy back to Virat Kohli for England series

Ajinkya Rahane is ready to take “a back seat” as the India captaincy reverts to Virat Kohli for the four-match series at home to England.

Rahane skippered India in the final three Tests of their 2-1 series victory in Australia, steering his team to two wins and a draw while Kohli was back home on paternity leave.

However, the batsman will now return to his role as deputy with Kohli back to lead against England as India set about trying to claim a 13th straight home Test series win.

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Speaking at a virtual media conference on Wednesday, Rahane said: “My job is really easy. It is to take a back seat and help Virat.

“There are too many things on a captain’s mind, so as a vice-captain you have to visualise a situation, think about what can happen in the game, and then if the captain asks you for suggestions then you should be ready.

“Whenever required I go and tell him, or whenever he asks me about certain things, I’ll just go and tell him. I generally take a back seat when I’m vice-captain.”

Rahane says India’s comeback victory over Australia – sealed when they inflicted defeat on the Baggy Greens in a Brisbane Test for the first time since 1988 – was “really special”.

But he says they are now focussed on facing England, a side they thrashed 4-0 on home soil in 2016 but who recently won 2-0 in Sri Lanka and are on a run of five consecutive Test match victories on the road.

Rahane added: ” What happened in Australia was really special but that is the past. We’re thinking of this series and taking it one game at a time.

“We respect the England team, we’re not going to take them lightly. We’re not taking anything for granted.

“I don’t think we have to think too much about complacency. We know our strengths. We’re still respecting the England team, they did really well in Sri Lanka.”

Asked whether India will encounter any bubble fatigue, with many of their players having been in biosecure environments since late August, Rahane added: “We are not mentally tired at all. We are really tough mentally.

“We are a unit, a family. We are enjoying each other’s company. We are spending time in the team room and our families are here which is really important.”

Follow over-by-over commentary of the first Test between India and England in Chennai from 4am on Friday on and the Sky Sports app.

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