Ajinkya Rahane, one of India’s most sort after batsman in Tests, is likely to open the innings against England in the ODI series, said head coach Anil Kumble.
Rahane’s 83-ball 91 against England in the second practice match sealed a six-wicket win for India A. His stint at the crease was nothing less than impressive, which might have prompted Kumble to take a call on his batting position in the upcoming ODI series.
In past, presence of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the opening slot caused Rahane to bat at number four spot, including that in the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. A top-order batsman by nature, Rahane couldn’t help his run-of-form much by coming down the order in limited-overs cricket, as he averaged just 37 by batting at fourth position.
Kumble, during the pre-match conference, hinted Rahane will open in the innings during the ODI series alongside the other likely opener Shikhar Dhawan.
“At this point of time, he [Rahane] is [being looked at as a top-order option only]. In the one-day format, I don’t think there’s a set batting order, so at this point in time, he’s still batting at the top of the order.”
With the middle-order looking already cluttered, Kumble said he is happy with the resources and that the inclusion of Yuvraj Singh in the side would come in handy for the newly appointed skipper Virat Kohli.
With the services of Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former skipper sounded relaxed while elaborating the strength of India’s number four, five and six.
“It’s a good choice that we have in the squad, with Yuvraj coming back into the team. We all know what he’s capable of, both as a batsman and a bowler. But, having said that, both Manish and Kedar in that slot have really done well.
“It’s nice to have these choices and there is competition for places in the team. And that’s what you want in a team. You want healthy competition for all places. It all depends on the pitch and the surface and what we believe is the ideal combination”, said Kumble.
India will face England in first of the three ODIs at Pune on January 15.