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We are backing Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order: Virat Kohli

Aadya Sharma
13.04K   //    16 Sep 2017, 14:56 IST

Kohli conceded that Rahane took some time to make the switch between roles
Kohli conceded that Rahane took some time to make the switch between roles

What’s the story?

Team India captain Virat Kohli has conceded that the management is backing Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order, while keeping KL Rahul’s skills for the middle-order. Speaking to the media on the eve of the first ODI against Australia in Chennai, Kohli, when asked about KL Rahul, an opener, playing in the middle order, said:

“If you look to bat in a position you bat in one format, in all formats, it gets difficult for the team to find the right kind of balance. Players need to adapt to what the team needs more often. I open in T20Is, I would do that any day if there is a guy in the middle order whose strengthen it. It is up to the player to get versatile, but it takes time”.

“We are backing Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order. He had found it difficult to switch, but once you identify a role and once you get the balance by giving the player more chances, he gets more confident”, Kohli added.

In case you didn’t know…

In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, the Indian team has the option of promoting KL Rahul to bat along with Rohit Sharma, or include Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order and let Rahul be in the middle order.

When Rohit was rested for the Windies series, Ajinkya Rahane filled in and scored runs in bucketloads, compiling 332 runs at an average of 67.20 from five ODIs. 

The heart of the matter

Kohli said that the team is backing Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order, and have made the plans clear to the 28-year-old. He said that with Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav around, there will always be competition for a particular slot.

He added that KL Rahul is an outstanding talent who has proved himself in all three formats, and is someone who need to be backed because if he gets his role done, he will start winning the team games on his own.

What’s next?

Until Dhawan’s return, the team will stick to their guns and keep Rahul for the middle, asking the ever-versatile Rahane to weather the new ball with Rohit Sharma, starting with the first ODI on September 17.


Author’s take

Given that Dhawan’s absence is temporary, the team management would not want to tinker much with the batting order. KL Rahul might not have fired yet in the middle-order, but given the fact that he has been accommodated in the middle, despite being an opener, shows the faith the team has on the 25-year-old.

By promoting him up the order, the team would have given KL Rahul mixed-signals, especially after the Chief Selector and Captain had clearly slotted his position at No.4. 

However, one also wonders what will happen to Ajinkya Rahane, once Dhawan returns. A hard-working batsman who can mould himself according to the need of the game and the team, Rahane might have to stay on the sidelines once again when the team becomes full strength.

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