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Ajinkya Rahane part of 2019 World Cup plans, says MSK Prasad

Aadya Sharma
FEATURED COLUMNIST
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2.95K   //    11 Feb 2019, 10:57 IST

Ajinkya Rahane in ODI colours
Ajinkya Rahane in ODI colours

He might have played his last ODI for India more than a year ago, but Ajinkya Rahane is still in contention for a spot in India's 2019 World Cup squad, according to Chairman of Selectors MSK Prasad.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Prasad stated that Rahane has been in good touch in the domestic circuit, and that "he is very much in contention for the World Cup."

Often scrutinized for his low strike-rate in limited-overs cricket, Rahane hasn't been able to seal his position in the ODI format, contrary to his exploits in Test cricket where he is a regular fixture in the Indian team. Ever since making his ODI debut in 2011, Rahane has played only 90 ODIs, the last of which was against South Africa at the Centurion.

Having started off as an opener, Rahane was pushed down the order after the pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, post the 2013 Champions Trophy win, became the preferred choice in the ODI format.

Captain of the India 'A' team during the List A matches against England Lions, Rahane looked in good touch recently, scoring a breezy 91 as an opener in the second game at Thiruvananthapuram last month. In the match before, he scored 59.

With India trying to sort out their middle-order muddle, Rahane might push his case as an additional batsman, if he has a decent IPL season with the Rajasthan Royals, the franchise he is set to captain this year as well. Rahane was part of India's 2015 World Cup squad, and played all 8 games for India in the tournament, managing just one fifty and finishing with an average of 34.66.

The No.4 slot, where Rahane predominantly batted during the 2015 World Cup, has been a subject of debate for the Indian team for a couple of years now. Several candidates have been tried and tested (with varying degree of success), but none has been able to absolutely clinch the spot in the lead-up to the 2019 edition.

While Rahane's considerable experience makes him a worthy contender, even in the role of an additional opener, his lack of ODI game time, especially before a tournament like the World Cup, make his chances of a surprise comeback extremely bleak.

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