Bengaluru, June 30: As India prepares for the four-match Test tour of the West Indies next month, newly appointed Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane believes being mentally strong and focused is more important than being just technically correct in cricket.
The team under new head coach and leg-spin legend Anil Kumble will kick off the tour with a two-day practice match from July 9 in St. Kitts followed by a three-day warm-up match from July 14 at the same venue.
"Technique is very important, but I think more than technique how strong you are mentally, how focused you are is very important. I feel that 85 per cent of the game is a mind game," Rahane was quoted as saying by bcci.tv on Thursday.
"While I work and focus on my technique during the off season or before a series, how tough I make myself mentally at the same time is important.
Speaking about the gruelling 49-day tour of the Caribbean, the right-handed batsman stressed that he will aim to contribute to the team's success and not look at individual milestones.
"The tour to West Indies isn't going to be any different in that sense. I will be preparing as per the requirements there and I will be looking to contribute to the team's cause," he said.
"I don't keep goals of runs or hundreds because I feel that if you are chasing such goals then sometimes the mind runs ahead into the future. What I always want is to think about what is going on in this moment. I will look to give my best and will be happy when I can contribute to the team's Test success.
The Virat Kohli-led team is expected to depart for the Caribbean on July 6.
The 28-year old, who was recently given the added responsibility of being the deputy of skipper Kohli, said he is looking forward to the new challenge.
"I am definitely excited about the role and looking forward to the tour to West Indies. This added responsibility will extract the best out of me because I like taking responsibilities," he said.
"As a player, as a vice-captain you are constantly thinking about the game and want to be ready with alternatives and suggestions when the captain asks for your view.
"I won't always be in the ear of the captain. When Virat asks me I should have an answer as to what can be done then. So it is definitely a new responsibility for me and a challenge I will definitely enjoy," he added.
Rahane has been performing consistently in all three formats of the game but being humble is his mantra in life.
"Be humble no matter what the situation; be respectful. It is important to stay humble; stay the same, because mentally if you are on same path through success or failures it will take you further ahead in life," Rahane concluded.
The first Test will begin on July 21 at the Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda while the second Test will be played from July 30 at the Sabina Park in Jamaica.
The newly named Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium at St. Lucia will host the third Test from August 9 while the final match will be played at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago from August 18.