India vs Australia 2017: Rohit Sharma hints at Ajinkya Rahane opening the batting
What's the story?
Ahead of the first ODI match against Australia in Chennai, Indian vice captain Rohit Sharma addressed the media and threw light on the many connotations around the Indian team leading into the series.
The primary focus revolved around the opening combination and the team composition, since Shikhar Dhawan pulled out of the squad owing to personal problems. If Rohit is to be believed, Ajinkya Rahane might walk out to open with him in the first ODI.
"Shikhar's absence will be felt, his form has been crucial to our success, right from the Champions Trophy to the Sri Lanka series, but we have a great bench strength and there are guys who can replace him," Rohit said.
"Ajinkya had a great series in West Indies where he was the man of the series and hence he could assume this role," he further said.
Rohit also spoke about the roles assigned to different members of the side and that before the Sri Lanka series, Kohli made it clear that he saw KL Rahul as the number 4 batsman in the side.
Apart from this he also said that having options for places in the side gives the coach and captain plenty of cushion to choose from, which can only augur well for the side.
The newly appointed vice captain also made it clear that players in this side are willing to take up any batting position for the benefit of the side and this flexibility has made the current batch successful.
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KL Rahul had a very poor series in Sri Lanka at number 4 position and with the absence of Shikhar Dhawan there have been murmurs about him being promoted to open the batting.
Rahane, however, had a brilliant series at the top of the order in West Indies, where he was also the man of the match, hence the team management would like to give him a longer rope.
India will take on Australia in the first of the 5-match series in Chennai on Sunday, September 17.
Australia too have been ravaged by injuries and have been forced to include replacements in their squad.
If India win the series 4-1 or better, they will become the number one side in ODI cricket which will be an added incentive going into the series.
There was a sense of clarity in the way Rohit spoke which in many ways is a reflection of the dressing room where the players are comfortable with their individual roles.
However, the toss up between Rahul and Rahane could be slightly tricky and irrespective of who walks out to open there will be questions thrown towards the management. Hence, the performance of both the players will be keenly observed.