India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane says scoring his 10th Test century after a drought of two years was special and he became “a bit emotional” after reaching the feat in Antigua.
Rahane played match-winning knocks of 81 and 102 in the first Test against the West Indies which India won by a huge margin of 381 runs in Antigua.
“I thought 10th hundred was really special. I wasn’t thinking about any particular celebration, it came out automatically. I was a little bit emotional,” Rahane said told reporters here.
Coming into the Test series, Rahane’s form was a subject of widespread debate but the India Test vice-captain silenced his critics in style.
“It took me two years to get that 10th hundred. As I said the process always matters to me a lot. Preparations before each and every series is very important. I was actually doing that throughout the two years, and so 10th hundred was really special,” he said.
India were reeling at 25 for 3 in the first innings when Rahane came out to bat and the right-hander said he saw it as an opportunity to do something special for the team.
“We were under pressure. I thought West Indies bowled really well throughout that day. It was an opportunity for me to do something special for my team. I think because of the situation I wasn’t thinking about myself because it was important to get that partnership going - one player had to bat and we knew that,” he said.
“I thought it was something special for me personally as well because we knew we were in a difficult position at that point of time and happily we did really well and came back strongly from that point.”
Rahane, whose previous ton had come way back in 2017 against Sri Lanka, said he wasn’t thinking about personal milestones but was focussed on stitching a partnership to consolidate the team’s lead.
“It definitely felt really special for me I got to know what it takes to get a century after two years. I’ve been working really hard on my batting,” he said.
“But I wasn’t thinking much about by hundred or milestone for me. What was important was to get my team into a good position, we were 140 runs ahead with three wickets down. That partnership with Virat (Kohli) was really crucial.”
Rahane was also lavish in his praise for all-rounder Hanuman Vihari.
“Vihari did very well in India A tours and he did really well in the domestic circuit. So it’s good that players who actually did consistently well over a period of time in domestic cricket are doing well at the international level,” he said.
“At the same time Rohit is also a quality player, a special player - it’s hard to see him miss out on a Test match,” he added.