Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has implored wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant to remain positive after being excluded from India's limited-overs and Test XIs recently.
Pant was in the squad, but did not play during India's five-T20I and three-ODI series against New Zealand. He likely won't be selected for the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington either, with fellow wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha preferred.
“It's important to accept whatever you are going through. Be positive, try and learn as many things as possible from any of the players. I am not saying it has to be senior or junior,” said Rahane.
Rahane on Pant
“See no one likes to sit outside, but whatever your team needs on a particular game, you have got to accept that. I think acceptance is really important talking about that particular individual. Focus on controllables, keeping working hard and improve as a cricketer.
“You should try and focus on what he can control as player and keep visualising that you will get an opportunity. You know what your role is. For Rishabh, he bats at number six or seven, so keep visualising about what if he gets an opportunity and what his role is. Keep it simple.”
New Zealand and India have contested 57 Tests since the first in 1955. The former have won 10 and the latter 21. They have shared 26 draws. India's previous trip to New Zealand for a two-Test series, in 2014, resulted in a one-nil defeat.
“I think New Zealand are favourites in their home conditions. But I still feel the host country remains favourite because they know what to bowl and batsman are aware of what shots to play,” added Rahane.
“As a unit we need to learn and adapt quickly as New Zealand grounds have different angles. When you bat first, your mindset is always positive, not saying that it's not when you bowl first. If you get 320 to 330 outside India in first innings, it's a very good total.
“All the matches if you see we won in England and Australia, we got around 320 to 350 runs on the board in the first innings.”