New Delhi: Virat Kohli has hinted at inclusion of Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order in the absence of regular opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was granted leave to attend to his unwell wife. Rahane, who was in a superb form in the West Indies earlier this year, is likely to open the innings with Rohit Sharma in the first ODI against Australia in Chennai on Sunday.
In the recent series against Sri Lanka, Rahane was benched for the first four matches while KL Rahul was tried in the middle order. Rahul, who is a natural opener, struggled to get going in the four matches he played and just managed to score 28 runs in three innings at 9.33.
“If you look to bat in a particular position in all the formats, then it can get really difficult for the team to find the right kind of balance in including that player. So the player needs to adapt to what the team requirement is more often. I’ve opened in T20 cricket and I would do that any day if a guy is there in the middle order who is going to strengthen the middle order. So I should be flexible enough to do that or in one-day cricket as well. I’ve batted at 4 and top of the order as well. I think it’s up to the player to get versatile in a manner that he can take different positions in what the team requires him to do. It takes time,” Kohli said on the eve of the series opener.
Kohli admitted switching batting positions is not easy and takes time and back Rahul to overcome the problems. “I’m not saying it’s easy because if you see Ajinkya Rahane as well, he’s played in the middle order in ODI cricket, he plays in the middle order in Test matches and then he has opened a lot in ODIs as well. So, he also felt that he found it difficult to switch. So now we are backing Rahane at the top of the order so that he knows, his plans are clear.”
“KL is an outstanding talent, he has proved himself in all the formats and he is someone who needs to be backed because we believe that he has the ability once he gets his role done then he’ll start winning you games…we are very sure of that,” he said.
Kohli also indicated that the Team India may include three front-line bowlers and two all-rounders. “Could be. Things are heading that way. You need depth in batting and bowling and I think those two all-rounders provide the kind of balance we need. The likes of Hardik or Axar in the team or Jadeja. We need to identify two of those guys for your side to have more strength in both the departments and that’s something that all the sides around the world are going to move towards because of the strength it gives you in both the departments. Along with the guy being a top fielder as well. That’s very very important. You need a proper all-rounder. Not just a bowling or batting all-rounder. That’s something we have been focused on and that has paid dividends to us in the last series as well and we’ll look to continue with it,” he added.