Rohit Sharma, India’s permanent opener, has had two different opening partners in Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, since 2013. Dhawan’s fragile consistency has often seen him fight for his place. Blame it on not capitalising on his starts, lack of enough opportunities or batting in different positions, Rahul who made his ODI debut in 2016, is yet to cement his name in the ODI team.
Rahul, from last three ODIs and six T2OIs, has amassed 448 runs. Dhawan, who injured his knee during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last year, scripted a decent return in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. The southpaw slammed a half-century and collected 84 runs from three matches.
Relieved after being back among runs, Dhawan had said it wasn’t his headache to finalise the opening combination for the three-match ODI series against Australia which kickstarts on Tuesday. Vikram Rathour, India’s batting coach, termed it a ‘good problem to have’ but added that one among the two, unfortunately, would have to sit out.
Indian captain Virat Kohli, at the pre-match press conference, built more suspense to the conundrum. “All guys in form is good for the team. There might be a possibility that all three will play,” Kohli told reporters here on Monday.
Kohli, who pushed players like Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey up the order in the recently concluded T20I series against Sri Lanka, said he is willing to change his batting position to accommodate the best combination. “I am very happy to (bat lower down the order),” Kohli said.
“I am not insecure about where to bat. Being the captain of the team, it is my job to make sure that the next lot is ready. It’s easy to get into a personal zone and say ‘look I need to score these many runs’. If at all someone has to take responsibility, it has to be me and give other players opportunities as well. I am open to it and I want to see the guys stepping up and taking responsibility,” he explained.
Paine gets his answer
Responding to Tim Paine’s invitation of playing at the Gabba in Brisbane in the 2020-21 Test series, the Indian skipper said his team is up for the challenge. The venue, a happy hunting ground for the Australians – an unbeaten streak since 1998 – was ignored for the four-match series against India last time.