What’s The Story?
After his side’s resounding 105-run win over the West Indies in Trinidad on Sunday, skipper Virat Kohli said that centurion from the game Ajinkya Rahane could be used as ‘floater’ if required by the team, in the shorter formats of the game.
“If he keeps performing like this, he is someone who has done the middle order job as well in the past, so he can very well be the floater for you in the middle order and he is someone that might allow you to take an extra bowler, in a big tournament like the 2019 World Cup, a big series before that as well," the 28-year-old said on Sunday.
"It all depends on who are the guys who can do two jobs in the team, there are very few guys who can open and play in the middle order and I think Ajinkya is one of them. In the future, we see him providing more balance to us as a side in terms of taking an extra bowling option maybe,” he added.
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After Jason Holder opted to bowl after winning the toss in a game reduced to 43 overs, the Indian batsmen pounced on some loose West Indian bowling. Rahane made most of the chance, scoring his 3rd ODI hundred and his first against the West Indies.
The Men In Blue’s total of 310 proved to be too good for the hosts, who fell short of the mark by 105 runs to hand the visitors a 1-0 series lead.
The heart of the matter
Kohli further said that Rahane had always been India’s third opener behind Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma and added that the right-hander was keen on becoming as good a limited-overs player as a Test player and felt that he was enjoying his cricket, thus far in the series.
With three more ODIs slated to take place in the next week and more, it remains to be seen if Rahane can maintain his consistency and get a few more big scores under his belt. One of the aspects about his batting in the series so far has been the manner in which he has been able to maintain an acceptable strike-rate and managed to keep the tempo of the innings going on and those qualities will once again be required when India play the 3rd ODI at Sir Viv Richards in Antigua on Friday.
In the past, India have tried using Rahane in the middle-order, but it hasn’t proven to be as much of a success as they would have liked. Playing at the top of the order, with the full 50 overs at his disposal, seems like the best way to get the best out of the right-hander and it will be interesting to see if in the tour to Sri Lanka, whether he gets a chance or not to play there.