Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly feels that the selectors must give Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul a longer run in the ODI set up. The first ODI against Sri Lanka was an eye opener for the Indian batsmen as they were bundled out for a mere 112. After dominating most of the season, the Indian team has stumbled against the moving ball against Sri Lanka twice in the ongoing series, once in the first innings of the first Test and then in the first ODI in Dharamsala.
The Indian team is without the services their captain Virat Kohli which has exposed the Indian middle order. India’s stand in captain in this series Rohit Sharma had a disappointing start captaincy in Indian colours both as a batsman and as a captain. Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit who have been the pillars of Indian batting failed to deliver in the first ODI which led to a batting collapse.
Ganguly feels the presence of Rahane and Rahul in the middle order will be productive for the batting line up and looking at the 2019 World Cup the management should now look for a solid middle order. He said, “It is imperative Rahane plays at No.3. In fact, to my mind, both Rahane and KL Rahul (not in the squad) should be playing more and more ODIs. When Virat comes back at No.3, there will still be slots at Nos.4 and 5 (with Dhoni at No.6) and if you are looking at the World Cup 2019, I would want the selectors and team management to back Rahane and Rahul. They have proved themselves in the past and I think they will make the middle-order more productive.”
The next match begins in Mohali on Wednesday and the conditions there will be no different from Dharamsala and Ganguly believes Rahane must play in the second ODI, “I know it will seam in Mohali too – since it’s an 11.30am start – and India must play Ajinkya Rahane at No.3. He should have played in Dharamsala too because he has the ability to play in such conditions. So, I am a little curious to know why he didn’t play.”
“An early start in Mohali would mean the ball will swing and seam with all the moisture around and with two new balls being used from either end, Rohit and Shikhar have to play out the phase. Once settled, batsmen will enjoy hitting through the line on the Mohali wicket,” Ganguly added.
The second ODI begins at 11:30 IST on Wednesday.