Ajinkya Rahane and his Investment Mantra India's cool and calm stand in captain, Ajinkya Rahane is never off pressure, which made him stay humble and focus on his game. In this interaction with Entrepreneur, he shares his rise as the son of the soil, his recent startup investments and the hardwork and discipline which drive his life.
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The journey for Ajinkya Rahane started off as any other Indian kid who loved cricket, breaking window panes with 2-3 complaints coming to the Rahane family every day. One day one of Ajinkya's neighbour saw him batting and told his father to try him out for a Cricket Academy. He started the journey when he was 7 and played all the age groups, U-12, U-14, U-16, U-19, and went on to play for the Mumbai Ranji Team when he was U-19. The realization that he could be an elite level athlete and play internationally struck him when he scored 172 against England in a tournament called Duleep Trophy. When asked about the ups and downs in his life Ajinkya Rahane recalls, "You will go through those ups and downs and you will see those highs and lows but what I learned from that is staying humble, staying on that same level during highs and lows and try to learn from each and every moment, whether I'm doing it well or not but I think trying to grow as a cricketer and as a person and trying to learn on the field every time and improve as a cricketer."
Everyone has their different styles of leading their team or captaining their team. Ajinkya's style is completely different as it is more inclusive, wherein he likes to include his players and take their opinions. Talking about the same, he adds, "I'm instinctive on the field when there are decisions to be made, I generally back my instinct and go for it and I like to support my players when they aren't doing well or their form is really low, I like to support them or back them because I feel it is all about the team and everyone brings best for the team. I am a kind of a person who believes in one-on-one talks so whenever I see a particular individual is not feeling well or is not confident, I go to him and talk to him, whatever he requires from the team management or from me as a Captain, I try to provide that." On the personal front, he is passionate about cars, fitness, farming, education, health, and technology.
"We are actively exploring education, something into fitness and agriculture. We have already invested with MeraKisan but we are looking at a couple of innovative ventures in agriculture."
With Ajinkya being a prominent figure on the International front for the last 10 years, he has met a lot of people and has a plan for life after cricket. His business partner, Akhil looks at different companies, filters them out and if a company fits Ajinkya's profile, he then gets both of them involved. Akhil and Ajinkya have known each other for the last 7-8 years as they have done some events and some shoots together and when Ajinkya wanted to start a business; he thought that Akhil will look after the business. The trust factor between Akhil and Ajinkya allows Ajinkya to focus on the pitch while Akhil can look after the business nitty-gritty. On what captures the eyes of Ajinkya to invest in, he says, "Personally, I decide to invest in any kind of startup if I see potential in that business and after that only, I have a meeting with the founder. If I am able to relate with the vision of the founder we generally move ahead together."
Ajinkya has recently assumed the role of a brand ambassador for a company called "CricketPang". Ajinkya is also known to be tech-savvy as he likes to discuss technology with his partner Akhil whenever they meet. Akhil handles the business and proceeds with due diligence when a profile comes in as he is aware that many companies want to be associated with Ajinkya's name. When asked about newer sectors of a potential investment, he says, "We are looking at education. We are actively exploring education. We are exploring something into fitness and agriculture we have already invested with MeraKisan but we are looking at a couple of innovative ventures in agriculture. We are taking it slow right now because as you can imagine, the first one was announced, we got so many opportunities and evaluating them, we usually try to get back to everyone who writes to us as a philosophy. We try to get back to them with something as simple as a yes or no so we are evaluating a couple of innovative ones and some more should follow in the 6-odd months."
The covid-19 enforced lockdown was a boon for Ajinkya as he got to spend time with his family and his daughter. He was home until the first week of August last year after which he traveled to Dubai for the IPL but he was continuously working on his fitness, working out twice or thrice, running in his parking lot with lockdown restrictions imposed. When asked what the pandemic has taught him, Ajinkya says, "The pandemic has taught me to live simple, respect each and every individual and value everything, not taking things for granted at all."
In the cricket crazy nation Ajinkya had his fair share of criticism and moments of self-doubt, when asked about keeping himself sane in such circumstances, he responds through meditation. "I have been following Vedanta philosophy for last 7-8 years and it has been great for me and that has been helping me a lot. Yes, I do meditation and yoga practices but Vedanta philosophy helps me keep my mind in good space," he adds.
(This article was first published in the September 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)