CHENNAI: Shikhar Dhawan’s unavailability for the first three ODIs is an opportunity for KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane to bat up the order. Chief selector MSK Prasad, chief coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli had a long chat during practice. Some of it might have been on the combination.
K Srikkanth, former selection committee chairman, believes Rahul should open with Rohit Sharma. “I would like Rahul to open. He is good at the top. Last time he played at Chepauk, he made 199 (vs England in a Test). Rahul plays aggressively in all formats. He is a perfect foil for Rohit.”
But Rohit felt the role of a player depends on the team’s requirements. “The coach and captain have clearly spoken about roles each individual will have. Before Sri Lanka, the captain said he is looking at Rahul as a No 4 batsman. Ajinkya has opened in the West Indies. I guess that could be the option,’’ said Rohit.
Rahul’s coach and mentor J Arun Kumar believes the Karnataka lad is best suited to open. “He is at his best when he plays up top. He can see off the new ball and has the ability to quickly adapt to different formats,” he said.
Rohit says he is game for opening with anyone and although Dhawan’s absence will be felt, the team’s bench strength indicates there is no cause for worry. “Of course Shikhar will be missed, for the kind of form he was in of late. From Champions Trophy to Sri Lanka, he had made an impact. Having said that, the partner doesn’t matter. It’s what the condition has to offer, what sort of pitch you are playing on. You have to give your team a good start.
If I see someone struggling at the other end, I have to take up the role and if they see me struggling, they’ll take up that role. That’s the plan,’’ explained the India vice-captain.
Srikkanth believes the batting order should be such that the run flow is consistent. “Rohit and Rahul should open followed by Kohli and then Rahane. Depending on the situation, Dhoni can be promoted,’’ felt the former opener.