Rohit Sharma hints Ajinkya Rahane may open in India’s first ODI vs Australia
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Rohit Sharma hints Ajinkya Rahane may open in India’s first ODI vs Australia

Ajinkya Rahane, who opened the batting with Rohit Sharma in Sri Lanka in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan is likely to hold the spot in the first ODI against Australia on Sunday.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 15, 2017 19:09 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Chennai
India vs Australia,Rohit Sharma,Ajinkya Rahane
Rohit Sharma says Ajinkya Rahane might open with him in place of injured Shikhar Dhawan in the first India vs Australia ODI.(AFP)

Indian cricket team’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma has almost made it clear that Ajinkya Rahane will be his opening partner and KL Rahul will continue to bat at No 4 in the first ODI against Australia here on Sunday. (FULL COVERAGE OF INDIA vs AUSTRALIA)

Shikhar Dhawan has pulled out of the first three ODIs due to his wife’s illness, having missed the last ODI and only T20 in Sri Lanka as his mother was unwell.

Test opener KL Rahul didn’t open the batting in the limited-overs series in Sri Lanka, where he was slotted at No 4 as part of the experiment heading into the 2019 World Cup. But it proved disastrous as he scored 4, 17 and 4. But the team management’s thinking is not clouded by his failure.

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“Before the start of Sri Lanka tour, the captain said he is looking at KL as a No 4 batsman. Ajinkya has opened in the West Indies. I guess that could be the option,” Rohit said before training at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.

“Having said that, when you have this kind of versatility in your team, it gives captain and coach a little bit of relief that these guys can take up any position they are offered. You will have to play according to the team dynamics, whatever the team requires,” he said.

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“That’s how I became an opener because the team wanted me to open at that point. I’m sure no batsman will come into the fray thinking he is a specialist opener and needs to open. We are all here thinking wherever the team wants us to play we should do the job.”

Pullout setback

Rohit accepted Shikhar Dhawan’s pullout was a blow given the form he was in. “The achievement we have had in the last few series, he has had a big role to play. Right from Champions Trophy till the last tour in Sri Lanka, he has had impactful performances for the team. Yes, his absence will be felt,” he said.

“But, we have got a few guys who can replace him. Ajinkya is one of them. He had a great series in the West Indies where he was Man-of- the-Series. We’ve got very good bench strength. That’s why we have the (rotation) policy.”

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Rohit Sharma said partners don’t dictate how India set the ball rolling. “The partner doesn’t matter, to be honest. It’s what the condition has to offer, what sort of pitch you are playing in. At the end of the day you have to give your team a good start. If I see someone struggling at the other end, I will have to take up the role, and if they see I’m struggling, they’ll take up that role,” he said.

“Things will not change so much, but we will be playing at different conditions all the time, so we will have to assess the wicket and see what’s a good score. We always have a talk in the middle about what we need to do.

“The two guys in the middle are the boss. They have all the time and the right to make the decisions and the team is there to back them.”

First Published: Sep 15, 2017 18:52 IST