India v West Indies - Ajinkya Rahane allows us to play extra bowler: Virat Kohli
Ajinkya Rahane scored a century on his comeback to the Indian team against West Indies in the second ODI in Trinidad. His effort was appreciated by captain Virat Kohliindia vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jun 26, 2017 23:07 IST
When asked what’ll happen to Sunday’s centurion Ajinkya Rahane once Rohit Sharma returns to the squad, India skipper Virat Kohli said his ability to play at any position will likely help him retain his position and makes him a good contender for the middle-order.
With Yuvraj Singh failing to do anything out of the ordinary, the obvious belief is that Rahane may find a way.
The Mumbai batsman, who is playing in place of the rested Rohit Sharma, scored a century and helped build a century opening stand with the fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan.
“Jinks (Ajinkya) has been part of the ODI setup for a while. Always thought he has great potential at the top of the order. But when Rohit and Shikhar play that well at the top then it becomes powerful package. Jinks is always there as a third opener,” said skipper Kohli.
Kohli added that Rahane is not playing under pressure and that has helped him do well.
“He wants to do well in shorter format and wants to make it count, so you end up taking pressure,” said the India captain. “But he is taking it easy and as just a cricket game and enjoying the game. He can only go up from there.”
Such confidence may hold the batsman in good stead. Before this series, Rahane last played for India in an ODI in January earlier this year, failing to do anything worthwhile.
And before that, he got opportunities in four of the five ODIs in the home series against New Zealand in October last year in which he managed only a fifty. In the two ODIs here, he already has a hundred and a half-century.
On Sunday, he was lucky when he was dropped on 28. But he made full use of the opportunity. To his credit, he didn’t do anything silly and kept milking runs at run-a-ball rate. He was, however, helped by poor West Indian bowling.
Once Rohit returns, the only spot left for him will be the middle-order but his skipper has full faith in him in delivering the goods at that position.
“Look if he keeps performing, he can. He has done that well before (batted at No. 4). He can be a floater. He might allow you to take an extra bowler. Few players can do two jobs, open and play in middle order and Ajinkya is one of them,” said Kohli.
Rahane himself was joyous and glad. “I didn’t get an opportunity in the Champions Trophy and I was hungry.”