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India must contemplate drafting Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane in ODIs against New Zealand

Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu took his time to make his mark in the domestic circuit © AFP

Talented right-handed batsmen Ambati Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane were retained by the Indian selectors for the tour of New Zealand 2014. While the chances of them playing in the One-Day International (ODI) series might look grim with the team combination working out well, the Indians must see the long-term benefit and try giving them a couple of matches. Devarchit Varma has more…

The 28-year-old Ambati Rayudu is certainly among those who don’t enjoy the immense media and fan backing, as some of his contemporary Indian batsmen do. The Andhra cricketer, who has indeed taken a lot of time to prove his talent in the domestic circuit, is now getting selected regularly and it becomes necessary for the Indian think-tank and the selection panel to work out a plan to utilise his full potential.

Ajinkya Rahane, on the other hand, is coming off from an immensely successful South African tour and his presence in the camp will keep tempting the Indians to give him a chance in the final eleven. He has the right technique – on placid tracks as well as the ones that supports the bowlers – and has a good head on the shoulders that keeps him calm and composed even in the most adverse scenarios.

The Indian ODI side looks set with the core group being already formed keeping the ICC World Cup 2015 in mind. India have found an excellent opening pair in Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, and the presence of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the batting line-up provides enough firepower for India to win matches on any given day. But, the conundrum that surrounds the No 4 position is something the Indians must solve soon, as it carries a lot of significance.

Dhoni believes in giving a player a good amount of international exposure, before any tournament as big as the World Cup, and this is the right time to give opportunities to someone like Rayudu. Rahane, though, has played quite a few matches for India. The experiments of having Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina at that particular spot have not only failed, but it also has exposed India’s major shortcoming to the opposition, who more than often, have made most of the opportunity.

This is where the Indian team need to start looking beyond Raina and Yuvraj in order to strengthen the batting line-up. The World Cup 2015 is a year away and till then, India will only be playing overseas. It was evident in the later part of the last year that both the left-handers haven’t made any significant improvement to overcome their difficulties against the short ball, and at this junction, the Indians can start thinking about giving opportunity to those who are technically sound and can fit the bill perfectly.

Rayudu and Rahane are the two batsmen waiting in the wings. The tour of Zimbabwe was an excellent one for Rayudu who showed the hunger to score runs, whereas Rahane’s stunning show in the South Africa series displayed that he is here to stay and has the necessary technique to succeed on all kinds of tracks.

If the Indians opt to make this move, it will only strengthen their batting, as they prefer to play more batsmen than bowlers during overseas tours.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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