India might have been winning lot of games of late but there is absolutely no denying the fact that the batting position conundrum is a big worry for the team. While the top-three looks stronger than ever with Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli being in sizzling form, the middle-order especially the number 4 position is a headache for the team management.
With Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina dropped from the team, KL Rahul was tried out at number four in Sri Lanka but the move poorly backfired as the Test opener managed to score just 28 runs in three innings. His failure had made many speculate that Ajinkya Rahane would be tried out in the middle-order. Rahane, while opening the innings, was the highest- scorer in the five-match series against West Indies but with Dhawan and Rohit going great guns, making him the opener was a no-brainer. However, since the Mumbai star bats in the middle-order in Tests, there were specializations that he would get a chance in the middle-order.
However, India captain Virat Kohli, while admitting that the team would not treat the upcoming series against Australia differently, made it clear that Rahane would be backed as an opener only which means he is likely to partner Rohit Sharma at the top in Dhawan’s absence for the first three games.
“I don’t think we need to look at any series differently. As I mentioned in Sri Lanka as well. Your preparation should matter more than who you are playing against. Obviously you will assess strength and weaknesses of all sides and as I said before you can’t raise of decrease your intensity according to who you are playing. That’s not being fare to the sport and that’s something as a team we don’t believe in. We would like to prepare in the same way and we would like to play with the same kind of intensity regardless of who we are playing against,” Kohli said ahead of the Sunday’s series-opener.
“If you look to bat in the position that you bat in one format in all formats then it can get very difficult for the team to find the right kind of including that player. So, the players need to adapt to the team requirement. It is up to the player to get versatile in a manner that he can take up different positions what the team requires him to do. It takes time, I am not saying it’s easy.
If you see Jinx (Ajinkya Rahane), he has played in the middle-order in ODI cricket, he has played in middle-order in Test cricket and he has opened a lot in ODIs as well. He also felt that he found it a bit difficult to switch. So now we are batting Jinx at the top of the order so he knows his plans are clear.So once you get that balance with giving that player more chances then he gets more confident of his role in the team,” he added. “Till then, Manish is there, Kedar is there as well. So there will be always competition for a particular spot.
Kohli also said that Rahul would be given an extended run in the team.
KL is an outstanding talent. He has proved himself in all the formats and he is someone who needs to be backed. We believe he has the ability and once he gets his role done, he will start you winning games,” he said.