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Sri Lanka vs India 2017: KL Rahul to bat at No.4 in ODIs

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will open the batting in the upcoming ODI series


KL Rahul last played an ODI in January this year

KL Rahul last played an ODI in January this year


What's the story?

MSK Prasad, Indian team’s chief selector, has made it clear that Lokesh Rahul will bat at No.4 for India in the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka. The 25-year-old, who made his comeback from injury in the Test series against the Lankans, is one of the fifteen members to face the hosts later this month in five ODIs and one T20I.

“He [Rahul] is too good to be left out of playing XI at the moment. [Shikhar] Dhawan-Rohit [Sharma] are in good form at the moment”, Prasad was quoted as saying.

In case you didn’t know…

Injuries have halted KL Rahul’s progress in international cricket, who made his ODI debut for the national team last year, hitting an unbeaten century on debut. His last ODI was against the visiting English side in January this year, scoring 11 in the series' final ODI at Kolkata, before a shoulder injury laid him low for the next few months.

In six ODIs, Rahul averages exactly 55, with a century and a fifty to his name. 

The heart of the matter

Speaking to the media in Sri Lanka, MSK Prasad spoke extensively about building the Indian team in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup. With less than two years to go, the selectors have started identifying a core group of players who will form the crux of the team under Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

Specifying that KL Rahul will bat at No.4 in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, Prasad said that they need to identify someone at the top spot and give them a run for a few months to see how they fare. He also said that Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will continue to open for the team, just like they did in the Champions Trophy held two months back.

He said Rahul is the first player being tried at the No.4. spot, but others could also get a look-in at that position in the future.

What’s next?

After the end of the final Test at Pallekele, the two teams will have less than a week to cool off, with the first ODI scheduled to be held at the Rangiri International Stadium in Dambulla. 

Author’s take

Barring a spate of injuries, KL Rahul has impressed one and all with his impressive strokeplay in all three formats, fitting in the Indian team seamlessly. Although he has played at the opening spot in all the six ODIs he has played till date, it is very difficult for him to displace the combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who have, over the last two years, forged fruitful partnerships for India in limited-overs.

As Virat Kohli had recently mentioned, it is very important to give KL Rahul the required backing at the top most level, and the youngster will look to justify the confidence shown by the management on him.

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