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Sanjay Manjrekar backs KL Rahul as India's opening batsman over Shikhar Dhawan

Indian selectors are going to have a difficult time picking the batting partner of Murali Vijay for the Test series against Sri Lanka. Sanjay Manjrekar in his article has backed KL Rahul over Shikhar Dhawan.

KL Rahul in action at SCG in Australia earlier this year

Indian selectors are going to have a difficult time picking the batting partner of Murali Vijay for the Test series against Sri Lanka. Sanjay Manjrekar has further stirred the pot with his analytical article in starsports.com. According to Sanjay, KL Rahul’s claim to the opening slot becomes stronger after his marvellous century against the Australia in Sydney. Shikhar Dhawan had also scored a century in his last test match, but that was against Bangladesh, hence Rahul’s performance holds more weight, as per Sanjay. 

Also, the fact that Dhawan, who in his short test career has been dropped twice may not be the ideal long-term option for the India, despite having the backing of the Indian captain.

On the Bangladesh tour, Cheteshwar Pujara was expected to replace Rahul after he became unavailable for the second test match. But, Virat Kohli picked Dhawan instead. His attacking cricket and higher strike rate went in his favour. 

Sanjay also mapped out the three main weaknesses in Dhawan’s technique:

Dhawan's problem as a Test opener is his technique. It’s quite amazing that despite such severe limitations in his batting technique he has had some success as a Test opener. Dhawan does not have just one big weakness when he is facing the new ball, but I have counted three. 

Dhawan has always been a suspect while playing the high rise bouncers overseas. At the face of the bouncer, he gets into an awkward position, be it attacking or defending. Sanjay reasoned. Secondly, his technique against the ball moving away from him has always been in question, but lately, the incoming ball has also managed to ruffle his defenses.

Thirdly, Dhawan’s cover shots; he is known to smash the ball on the up. This works fine in the low bounce conditions in and around India, but for overseas pitches this may put him in a difficult spot. Sanjay further wrote:

It’s quite remarkable that despite all this, he is no pushover and his impressive century and a 90 in New Zealand showed that he can get runs overseas, but can he do it consistently is the question. I have my doubts about that.

Who is it going to be? We may have to wait for the answer till the final playing eleven are announced. 

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