India vs Australia: It’s a good dilemma to have, Vikram Rathour on opening combination

With Rohit, Rahul and Dhawan at their best, the team management will surely be a little uncomfortable while finalising the team for the opener on Tuesday.

K.L. Rahul bats under the watchful eyes of head coach Ravi Shastri at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

With Shikhar Dhawan injuring his knee during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, K.L. Rahul was presented with a longer run at the top of the order during India’s white-ball assignments at home over the last couple of months. Despite having proven his mettle, come Tuesday and Rahul may still have to be benched for the first of the three ODIs versus Australia.

With Dhawan and Rahul coming good against Sri Lanka in the last week’s T20 series, it will be a toss-up between the duo during the series-opener at the Wankhede Stadium. Batting coach Vikram Rathour was happy for the team management to be facing a “good dilemma” but stressed that only one of them will start the series.

“It’s a good dilemma to have. Rohit is an obvious choice of course. Both of them - Shikhar and Rahul - are playing well. Shikhar has done well in One-dayers, Rahul is in great form, so we’ll deal with it when we have to. There are still a couple of days to go. The management will sit down and make a choice. I don’t see it as an issue and one of them will have to sit out,” Rathour said on Sunday.

Over the last year, the team management has tried to accommodate the triumvirate in the ODIs. In the last year’s World Cup in England, Rahul started off at No. 4 with Kohli separating him and the openers before suffering an injury. However, with Dhawan on the sidelines, Rahul grabbed the opportunity to open the innings in ODIs.

Rohit Sharma was hit on the thumb but the star opener returned back to the nets after receiving treatment.   -  PRASHANT NAKWE

 

Rahul complemented Rohit to perfection, garnering 185 runs at 61.67 and a strike rate of 89, including a hundred and a fifty in three ODIs against Kieron Pollard’s men.

Rathour, however, stressed that the team management would avoid experimenting at the start of the ODI series like it did in the recent T20 contests with an eye on the T20 World Cup.

“We did that in T20s, because as you rightly said-we were willing to give them some game time. So against Australia in the first game, we’ll start with our best XI. And I think everyone will bat according to tried order. As the series goes, well see if we can experiment and try something different,” he said.

Interestingly, Rohit and Rahul were among the six India cricketers to participate in the optional nets session at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. Rohit even received an injury scare, with a throwdown by Rathour hitting his thumb. But the vice-captain returned for another hit in no time and didn’t look in any discomfort.

With the three openers at their best, the team management will surely be a little uncomfortable while finalising the team for the opener on Tuesday.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos