Having quietly cemented his place as India's middle-order mainstay, Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday said he has gained a lot from borrowing a trick or two from stylish Hyderabad batsman VVS Laxman.
Coming in at No.5, Rahane has showed the same bit of maturity that Laxman once displayed during the latter part of his 16-year-long international career.
"When batting at No.5 you have more time in your hands. I noticed how Laxman paaji made the optimal use of time. He used to come to the dressing room, relax, take a shower and take a brief nap. I learnt from him how important it is that during this time when you are waiting for your turn to bat, you don't over-think things and stress your mind out," said Rahane in an exclusive interview with BCCI TV.
"It is important to switch off and go out to bat with a fresh mind when your turn comes. I did take that from him (Laxman) -- sometimes, when there is a bit extra time, I try to sleep for 10-15 minutes. It helps me de-stress an rejuvenate my mind," he added.
If the match-winning century at Lord's was not enough to prove his credentials in the middle-order then his two fifties in a losing cause at Southampton also highlighted his rise as a player. Rahane said that he has grown as a player by just watching some of the greats of Indian cricket.
"I keep watching the videos of all the great innings played Rahul bhai, Sachin paaji and Laxman paaji. I watch how they approached a pressure situation and got the team out of the jail. I draw motivation from watching their innings," he revealed.
After making his debut against Australia in March 2013, Rahane rose to prominence with his two half-centuries against South Africa in Durban, but his 103 in the first innings of the second Test against England at the Mecca of cricket in the ongoing five-match series, will always remain special for Rahane.
"At Lord's I got to know what it feels like to win a Test match overseas. It was such an emotional feeling for all of us and it was so special. You play for moments like that. That is the feeling that makes every struggle and difficulty worthwhile," he said.