Ra­hane the top pick

Sharma says Mum­bai bats­man likely to open in Dhawan’s ab­sence

Sport360 - - News - By Sud­hir Gupta @Sport360 ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

In­dia open­ing bats­man Rohit Sharma said Ajinkya Ra­hane is the most likely can­di­date to open the in­nings along­side him after reg­u­lar top-or­der bats­man Shikhar Dhawan opted out of the first three ODIs against Aus­tralia.

In­dia and Aus­tralia play a five­match se­ries, with the first game start­ing in Chennai to­mor­row, and Sharma said his fel­low Mum­bai bats­man should walk out with him.

“We have great bench strength. Of course, the ab­sence of Shikhar will be felt. The kind of form he was in of late, he had a big role to play in the team’s re­cent achieve­ments. Right from the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy to the last tour of Sri Lanka, he has had im­pact­ful per­for­mances for the team. But, we have got a few guys to re­place him,” Sharma said yes­ter­day.

“Ajinkya (Ra­hane) is one of them. He had a great run in the West Indies and won the man of the se­ries award. He can come and take up that role any­time. We have got guys who can take on the role and per­form well,” he added.

Sharma said that while Dhawan is the reg­u­lar opener, he won’t need to ad­just his game for a com­par­a­tively new partner.

He said: “The partner doesn’t mat­ter, to be hon­est. It’s what the con­di­tions have to of­fer, what sort of pitch you are play­ing in. At the end of the day you have to give your team a good start. If I see some­one strug­gling at the other end, I will have to take up the role and if they see I’m strug­gling, they’ll take up that role.

“I think both the coach and cap­tain have clearly spo­ken about roles each in­di­vid­ual had to play. Be­fore the start of Sri Lanka our, the cap­tain said he is look­ing at KL (Rahul) as a num­ber four bats­man.

“Ajinkya (Ra­hane) opened in the West Indies. I guess that could be the op­tion. Hav­ing said that, when you have this kind of ver­sa­til­ity in the team, it gives the cap­tain and coach a lit­tle bit of re­lief that th­ese guys can take up any po­si­tion they are of­fered.”

One of the ma­jor talk­ing points be­fore the start of the se­ries has been on-field be­hav­iour, with both teams en­gag­ing in an in­tense ver­bal bat­tle earlier in the year dur­ing the Test se­ries. Sharma stated it’s im­por­tant for both sides to up­hold the spirit of the game.

He said: “Aus­tralia is a very strong op­po­si­tion and it makes me feel good. We have to see once the tour­na­ment starts. We have to play in the spirit of the game. Both teams are ag­gres­sive in na­ture. There has to be a line which needs to be drawn. We all know as pro­fes­sional crick­eters we shouldn’t cross lim­its.”

Smooth tran­si­tion: Sharma (l) said the fluid roles of bats­men in the In­dian team made it eas­ier to ad­just to changes in bat­ting po­si­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.