Rahane will disrupt Kiwi spinners’ rhythm

India batsman Ajinkya Rahane has a healthy respect for New Zealand’s spinners ahead of the first Test in Kanpur, and will aim to disrupt the bowlers and avoid any kind of domination at Green Park.

With the venue not used for a Test since 2009, Rahane is not sure how much it will turn, but feels that Mark Craig, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will be formidable opponents, and India will try to dominate the conversation.

Rahane said: “We don’t take anyone lightly. While we respect them, our plan is to not let them settle down and dominate them.

“Sometimes in practice matches, you are trying things. It is a different mindset. Tests mindset is entirely different. Their spinners are good, they have played with each other, and we will respect them.

“Hopefully it [the Green Park pitch] will turn. We all know wickets in India are helpful for spinners, and they will turn. That is our strength.

“It is important to play to our strengths. But as of now I am not sure how the wicket is going to be.”

This encounter marks the start of a very long home winter for India, and Rahane feels they need to get off to a winning start in order to build momentum and stay close to that number one ranking.

He added: “We know we are playing 13 Test matches here [in India]. The first Test will be crucial. This game will set the tone for the season.

“Yes we are playing ODIs as well but focussing on Tests first. The first Test of every series is crucial. You get that momentum from that. And I feel we all are ready for that.”