AJINKYA Rahane has won many fans with his astute captaincy during the Indian team’s epic triumph in Australia but he would like to make it very clear that the undisputed leader of this side is Virat Kohli and he is happy filling in when required.

Come February 5, Rahane will again be the vice-captain of the Test team against England with Kohli back in the saddle. So will things be different now when he once again dons the vice captain’s hat?

“Nothing changes. Virat was and will always be the captain of the Test team and I am his deputy. When he was absent it was my duty to lead the side and my responsibility to give my best for Team India’s success,” Rahane, who was on his way to Chennai, told PTI in an exclusive interview. For the vice-captain, it was not about being on the hot seat but having the ability to perform the role to perfection that mattered the most. “It’s not the matter of merely being a captain. How you perform the captain’s role is what’s more important. So far I have been successful. Hopefully, in the future also, I will try to give these kinds of results for my team,” said the man, who has led his country to four wins in five tests. Reflecting on his relationship with Kohli, Rahane said it has always been smooth.

“Me and Virat have always shared a good bonding with each other. He has time and again praised my batting. Both of us played memorable knocks for our team in India and overseas conditions. It only helped that Virat comes at No 4 and myself at No 5. We have had a lot of partnerships,” the 32-year-old said.

Theirs is a relationship that has been based on transparency and mutual respect. “We have always backed each other’s game. When we are at the crease, we discuss threadbare about the opposition’s bowling. We caution each other whenever one of us plays a rash shot.”

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