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The Rahane conundrum in limited overs cricket

MUMBAI: It isn’t easy being in Ajinkya Rahane the limited overs player’s shoes right now. The classy batsman has enjoyed a golden run in the ODIs since the past few months, but has still not been able to seal a spot for himself in India’s limited overs team.

It started with the tour of the West Indies in June, where he slammed a hundred and three fifties, but found himself excluded from the ODI Series that followed against Sri Lanka. He was only later included in the squad after regular opener Shikhar Dhawan opted out of the series.

He then came into his own against the Aussies at home, slamming four consecutive half-centuries. His three consecutive century stands with fellow Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma, a first for India, were one of the key factors in India outplaying Australia 4-1 in the series.

However, the Dhawan’s return ensured that Rahane, despite his consistent run, was dropped from the Twenty20 International series against Australia that followed the ODIs. The 29-year-old has been picked for the ODI series against New Zealand which begins with the first game at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, but with now the dashing Delhi bat back in the ODIs too, and the middle-order already too packed, Rahane, in all probability, will sit out of the XI. “The selectors are looking at him purely as an opener now. He’s been shunted enough times to No 4, which isn’t fair to him. They now want him to settle down at this spot,” well-placed source tells TOI.

Rahane’s backers, however, feel that he’s too good a batsman to be left out even if he doesn’t fit in the opening position, where Rohit and Dhawan look unshakeable, and should be accommodated in the middle order, especially considering that the next World Cup in 2019 will be played in England, where his technique may come handy in seam-friendly conditions.

The problem is that while the selectors are now clear about where they want Rahane to bat, his teammates perhaps still aren’t. On Friday, Rohit too didn’t seem to have much idea of the conundrum surrounding his old friend and teammate, and felt that the riddle would be solved by the team management in the coming days.

“See, I have no idea about that where he (Rahane) will be batting, yes Shikhar (Dhawan) is back, but speaking of Rahane he is probably grabbed all his opportunities in the last few series that he has played, now it’s on the captain and the coach, what they want and where they want him to bat especially, a couple of series back the captain came and spoke about that he considered him as a opening batsman and I don’t know if he (the captain) wants him to bat at four again , that will be completely his call, if he feels that we need someone like Rahane batting at four in this particular team right now, I don’t know if that will happen, it is very unclear, we have to wait and see.

“Whatever limited opportunities he (Rahane) has had in last few series, he has performed well. It only shows that the strength of this team is so vast, that anyone can come at anytime and take the position, so we all have to be on our toes and keep performing the way we have in the last few years,” Rohit explained.

Having slammed 902 runs in 15 [email protected], including four hundreds and five fifties, Rohit himself has been in the form of his life since he returned after a nine-month hiatus due to a bad thigh injury. “You feel good when you score runs. The last few years especially it’s been really good, I spoke about when I started opening the innings that I wanted to be consistent at the top because it’s very important from the team’s perspective, looking from the team’s perspective that the top few players stay consistent in their performance to get the team to a good position all the time. So in that space I am quite happy right now, but the hunger (for runs) will never go, you will take every series as an opportunity and go out and perform the same. For me, every series I play, I feel it is the first game of my career, that’s the kind of pressure it is and comes with the spot.

“You never feel that you have played xyz amount of matches, you start fresh and that is a great hallmark of greatest players that we have seen over the years, they have always started their innings or tour or matches fresh, what has happened in the past has happened in the past, and if you stay in present, you get only continue to perform well and be consistent. For me as well next the few months or next few years, will be the same, when I have got on to the train I wanted to and now I don’t want to get down, I want to keep going,” he said.

Rohit had plenty of praise for India’s in-form wrist spinners, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and leggie Yuzuvendra Chahal, who’ve combined into a brilliant strike force in limited over games for India in the Champions Trophy in June.

“They compliment each other really well, which is, I guess, important. Like I keep saying about batting with my partner in the middle, it’s important that you compliment each other. And they do that while they bowl. So, it gives them confidence and they’re not afraid to flight the ball and go for wickets. We know that the grounds aren’t so big here, and sometimes you will be in two minds whether you want to flight the ball or restrict the opposition. But they understand the game, and where its going. And if they feel that we shouldn’t go for wickets, we should just try and restrict, bowl a few dot ball and create pressure, they’re ready to do that as well. So, they’re quite versatile,” Rohit praised.

Source : timesofindia

This post first appeared on Daily Kiran, please read the originial post: here

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The Rahane conundrum in limited overs cricket


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