Mumbai, Sept 27: It was as an opener that Ajinkya Rahane shone in the limited opportunities he got in England but the Mumbai batsman knows he can not afford to be fussy about his batting position in the India team.
Rahane's sound technique and temperament on his debut tour brought him two half-centuries and impressed most even though India had a forgettable two months in England.
The tourists failed to win even one out of the five one-dayers and a lone Twenty20 match after a 4-0 whitewash in the preceding test series.
The 23-year old right-handed batsman, whose debut was aided by injuries to key Indian players, knows he will have to give way when opener Virender Sehwag returns from a shoulder injury but Rahane is open to batting anywhere in the order.
"During the first few years in Ranji Trophy, I had opened the innings but the next two years I played at the number three position," Rahane said.
"But what I believe is, if you are playing international cricket, you must be ready to bat at any position.
"It's a dream to play for Team India and I believe if you are a top-class batsman you can play at any position."
More so when Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir remain India's automatic choices for the top three batting spots and there is so much competition for other slots in the batting order.
"It's difficult to get selected for the Indian team. But to stay there and play consistently (for a long period) is more difficult," Rahane said.
"I think I have to work harder now and I have to keep my complete focus only on cricket."
Rather than obsessing about selection, Rahane cherishes the memory of interacting with some of the players he grew up idolising.
"On my debut, Sachin (Tendulkar) came up to me after the match and said 'well played, very well done and you have batted very well,'" Rahane said.
"Later, Rahul Dravid and (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni also gave me some tips. When such stalwarts themselves come forward and give you tips... It was a huge thing for me."
A prolific run-scorer in domestic tournaments, with a first-class average of over 67, Test cricket remains Rahane's ultimate target.
"It's my dream to represent the Indian Test team but I never think about selection," he said. "My focus is on performing well in whatever matches I get to play."