Sourav Ganguly hits out at Indian cricket team selection after Dharamsala debacle
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Sourav Ganguly hits out at Indian cricket team selection after Dharamsala debacle

Sourav Ganguly believes Ajinkya Rahane, who didn’t feature in India’s playing XI for the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Dharamsala, has the ability to do well in seaming conditions and should play as the No. 3 batsman in Mohali.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 12, 2017 08:36 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Mohali
India vs Sri Lanka,Ajinkya Rahane,Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly said the Indian cricket team missed Ajinkya Rahane in the Dharamsala ODI against Sri Lanka, which the hosts lost by seven wickets. (PTI)

The Indian cricket team arrived here on Monday, carrying a burden of expectations. If the weather and conditions are anything to go by, then the home batsmen are up for a challenge again as seamers may again play an important role in the second ODI at Mohali. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA FULL COVERAGE)

India are already 1-0 down and they need to win this match to stay alive in this 3-match series.

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly is confident of an India comeback.

“You see,” Ganguly told Hindustan Times over phone, “whatever happened in Dharamsala was an aberration and we all know the capability of these batsmen. What is worrying me though, is, are India playing the best team? I know it will seam in Mohali too -- since it’s an 11.30am start -- and India must play Ajinkya Rahane at No.3. He should have played in Dharamsala too because he has the ability to play in such conditions. So, I am a little curious to know why he didn’t play.”

(Read | India set for lighter overall cricket schedule in 2019-23; home games to increase)

India were reeling at 29-7 before Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kuldeep Yadav took them to 112. That proved too little in the end. After the game, the stand-in captain Rohit Sharma said the team management has earmarked him for opener’s slot.

But Ganguly differed. “There isn’t much difference in the jobs of Nos. 1-3 in ODIs. So, going by the conditions in Dharamsala and Mohali, it is imperative Rahane plays at No.3. In fact, to my mind, both Rahane and KL Rahul (not in the squad) should be playing more and more ODIs. When Virat comes back at No.3, there will still be slots at Nos.4 and 5 (with Dhoni at No.6) and if you are looking at the World Cup 2019, I would want the selectors and team management to back Rahane and Rahul. They have proved themselves in the past and I think they will make the middle-order more productive.”

(Read | India vs Sri Lanka: Mohali pitch similar to Dharamsala, but will grass be shaved?)

India have been searching for consistency in the middle-order and on days the top order hasn’t given India a good start, the team has struggled. Ganguly feels Virat’s absence in this series can bring opportunities to others. “Virat has played for so long and he needed rest. People like Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey should use the opportunities and score big. But I do somehow feel they have to raise (the level of) their batting in such trying conditions. That’s why I want the selectors to allow Rahane and Rahul 25-30 ODI games leading up to the World Cup. They will get used to those positions.”

He had a piece of advice for the openers. “An early start in Mohali would mean the ball will swing and seam with all the moisture around and with two new balls being used from either end, Rohit and Shikhar have to play out the phase. Once settled, batsmen will enjoy hitting through the line on the Mohali wicket,” Ganguly said.

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 07:35 IST