Sourav Ganguly feels dropping Ajinkya Rahane from the ODI team now would be a blunder
Ever since the inception of ODI cricket back in the 70s, there have been certain players who have excelled at the format through their natural batting ability and flexibility in terms of how to play the game.
However, there were others who were not so flexible and found it difficult to mould their game and deliver in both the longer as well as the shorter formats of the game. In the modern game if there is one player who finds himself in the latter category is Ajinkya Rahane.
The 28-year-old right-hander is perhaps India’s best Test batsman at present and has made invaluable contributions in the whites, but when it comes to the limited-overs format, he has found the going tough and as a result is not the most prolific run-getter in it.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that Rahane needs to be told exactly what his role in the team is and added that it would be a big mistake to not pick him in the ODI side, despite him not being a big boundary hitter unlike a few others in the team.
"He is not a boundary-hitter. He needs a bit of time and then keep hitting deliveries in the gap. To think of leaving him out from the ODI side will be an absolute blunder by the team.
"I don't think Rahane's place is in doubt. He is a bit like Rahul Dravid. When Dravid came in, he struggled with his run-rate. He got a role and that's what the team management needs to do with Rahane,” Ganguly told India Today.
What will also work in Rahane’s favour is the fact that ahead of the second ODI in Delhi last week, head coach Anil Kumble shrugged off all doubts about the opener’s place in the team, stating that Rahane will open in the remaining ODIs against New Zealand.
"At the moment he fits at the top of the order and that's something that we will persist with. It does give us an option once Dhawan and Rahul are fit, but we will probably look at that after the Test series against England. but in this ODI series, Rahane is definitely going to open the batting and then, later on, looking at the Champions Trophy, we will how the order shapes up then,” Kumble had said.
With the backing of the team management, it is now time for Rahane to fire and he will be hoping to do that in the fourth ODI against the Kiwis in Ranchi on Wednesday.