India batsman Ajinkya Rahane thanked his role models Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendukar after scoring his maiden Test century on day two of the second Test against New Zealand here Saturday.
Rahane had missed his first Test hundred by a whisker in South Africa.
"Rahul Dravid is my role model and I have been following him since childhood," Rahane said after India ended the day leading New Zealand by 222 runs with nine wickets in hand.
"I have played with him in the Indian team and with Rajasthan Royals, and so I really learnt a lot from him both on and off the field. I just want to thank Rahul bhai.
"I also want to thank Sachin (Tendulkar) paaji because during his last two Test matches, he told me about my batting. He said, 'I have been following you, and your hard work and your fitness. Just be patient and wait for your chance.' Thanks to both of them," Rahane said.
The 25-year-old was at a loss for words when expressing his joy.
"I don't know how to express my feelings. A Test hundred is always special, but I will remember this first hundred for a long time. It's a very special hundred for me, but tomorrow is also a crucial day for us and hopefully the bowlers will do their job."
Describing how he went about his knock, Rahane said, "Initially when I went in to bat, I just wanted to take my time to settle down and just wanted to play my game. I was looking to do whatever I have been doing in domestic cricket and continue the same way. I am really happy that I got a hundred here."
He credited Mahendra Singh Dhoni for encouraging him in the middle during their 120-run stand for the seventh wicket.
"His innings gave me a lot of confidence because I have batted with him earlier too, in South Africa as well. He just told me to back myself and play my shots, to play one ball at a time and don't think too much about what's happening at the other end. That really helped me a lot and gave me good confidence," Rahane added.