‘Don’t know when opportunity will come but I’m ready’: Ajinkya Rahane keen to make ODI comeback
Ajinkya Rahane may be one of the mainstays of India’s batting in Tests but he last played an ODI more than two years ago. Rahane has scored 2962 runs from 90 matches at an average of 35.26 of which 843 have come from batting at No. 4 in 27 matches with an average of 36.65. His numbers as ODI opener are even better with 1937 runs from 54 matches including three centuries.
Yet, Rahane was dropped from India’s ODI setup after India’s series against South Africa in 2018. Two years later, Rahane is ready to make a comeback into the Indian team and the batsman isn’t fretting over which position to bat at.
“I am ready to bat at any position in ODI cricket, whether opening or No. 4 or whatever, I am ready. My instinct answers yes, I want to make a comeback in ODI cricket,” Rahane told former India wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta on ESPNCricinfo. “But when the opportunity will come, we don’t know. Mentally I am preparing to play all the formats. It is all about being positive yourself and about your abilities.”
In 2014, Rahane emerged as a tremendous makeshift opener for India in the absence of an injured Rohit Sharma. He scored a couple of vital half-centuries in the Asia Cup that year and a terrific century against England at Edgbaston. Against Australia in 2017, Rahane scored four half-centuries in a row and followed it with a 79 against South Africa in the first ODI of a six-match series, but he was shown the door only three low scores later. Even when India were desperately in need of a No. 4 batsman ahead of the World Cup, Rahane was ignored.
“I have enjoyed opening the innings, but I don’t mind batting at number 4 if I am asked to. I have enjoyed both roles,” Rahane explained. “It is very hard to suddenly open the innings and adjust to it after you have been batting at No. 4 for a while, which I had done. It is hard to say which position I prefer. I can do well in both.”