Home > Features >

Ajinkya Rahane should be given a good run at the top of the order

Ajinkya Rahane should be given a good run at the top of the order

Ajinkya Rahane… With two bouncers permitted in ODIs, an adept short-pitched delivery player like Rahane could turn out to be a thorn in the flesh of the opposition at the top of the batting line-up © Getty Images

By Karthik Parimal

It has been a forgettable year for the Indian cricket team, both in whites and the blues. While the limited-overs stage has usually been its forte, the side’s decline has been alarming, to say the least. In 17 One-Day Internationals (ODI) played this year, the Indians have won just nine, and seven of those victories have come against Sri Lanka. They were sent packing from the Commonwealth Bank (CB) Series, crashed out of the Asia Cup after being trumped by Bangladesh, and have concluded this year with a defeat to Pakistan at Chennai. A 4-1 win against Sri Lanka in an insignificant series has been the lone bright spot.

The Indian team has always been heavily dependent on its openers. Whenever India has done well in an ODI game during recent times, it’s largely due to the fact that one of the top-order batsmen has anchored the innings. Unfortunately, such knocks have been few and far between by Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in 2012, and although the former has averaged 42.81, the runs have come in a rather unconvincing manner.

Sehwag’s predicaments post the 2011 World Cup is still an issue of concern too, and his failure at the top has hindered India’s chances. In ten matches this year, Sehwag has scored 217 runs at an average of 21.7, with just one half-century – a highest of 96 against Sri Lanka. His scores in the last ten innings read as follows: 4, 34, 3, 15, 96, 30, 5, 0, 20 and 10. Moreover, frequent injuries haven’t helped his case either. Together, Gambhir and Sehwag have opened six times in ODIs this year and could manage a highest of just 52 against the Australians back in February.

On the other hand, Ajinkya Rahane has been consistently delivering, but his place in the eleven remains uncertain. Whenever picked, he continues to impress, and his scores of 42 and 28 in the two T20 internationals against Pakistan last week can be evidence of that. He fearlessly played over the in-field, unleashed his repertoire of strokes and got India off to a flyer on both occasions, something both Gambhir and Sehwag have struggled to do during recent times. Yet, he’s often sidelined due to the presence of experienced, albeit underperforming, players. One wonders what else is expected of Rahane, especially when the likes of Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja continue to get an extended run despite their lean patch.

It could augur well for India if Rahane becomes a regular fixture in the top-order, at least in the overs-limit format of the game for now, alongside Gambhir. Also, considering the recent amendment of rules in the ODIs, it could prove to be beneficial if Sehwag bats a little lower in the line-up, as his aggressive approach could come in handy when the spinners come in to play during the middle overs with just four fielders outside the inner circle. Moreover, he’d be an apt occupant of the No.5 position, and it’d also ensure that a talented, performing youngster doesn’t lose out on a berth in the side. With two bouncers now permitted in ODIs, an adept short-pitched delivery player like Rahane could turn out to be a thorn in the flesh of the opposition at the top of the batting line-up.

It’s unlikely that the next two ODIs against Pakistan will see a change of openers or a major shuffling of the batting order. However, there’s no denying the fact that a deserving youngster is warming the benches rather than being a part of the action on the field. Also, it’s imperative that Sehwag realises his role in the side. He must be willing to make way for a youngster or to float across the line-up if need be, should he fail to perform at Kolkata and Delhi. Of late, Gambhir too has slackened, but statistics reveal that he could still be an asset in ODIs.

Considering the fact that their bowling department is frail, it’s essential that the Indian batsmen put up formidable scores on the board, and for that to happen, it’s important that the openers fire. Also, the side needs someone who can consolidate by batting at No.5. Roping in Rahane and moving Sehwag into the middle-order could be a shot in the arm.

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

Photos

KKR vs Dolphins, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

Jasprit Bumrah: Sachin Tendulkar giving me my debut cap was my most memorable moment with Mumbai Indians

Sachin Tendulkar fans turn Durga Puja pandal into cricket stadium

Pakistan players would be allowed in IPL soon, hopes Shahryar Khan

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab KKR vs Dolphins Kolkata Knight Riders

Afghanistan invites top cricketing nations to play cricket at their backyard

High Court forms selection committees for Rajasthan cricketers

Rohit Sharma ruled out of India-West Indies ODI series

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should appoint Virat Kohli as Test captain: Mohammad Azharuddin

CLT20 2014: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will look to maintain consistency against Chennai Super Kings says George Bailey

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Gandhi Jayanti: Mahatma Gandhi’s cricket connections and an XI

Jayasinghrao “Mamasaheb” Ghorpade: Royal connections, loyal to Baroda

Hedley Verity’s ‘lucky escape’ during the Bodyline series

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK), 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: KXIP likely XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Leaked: Mrunal Jain goes semi nude – view pic!

6 changes that take place in your breasts during pregnancy

Why a steady heartbeat is bad for you

Ontario Reports Lower Budget Deficit

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to launch in India on October 10

Research Breakthrough Offers Huge Benefits To Diabetics

Alia Bhatt goofs-up again, unaware of Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan’s resignation!

Windows 10 Technical Preview now available, here’s how to download it

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here