Sourav Ganguly wants Rohit to bring back Rahane in the team    AFP
Sourav Ganguly wants Rohit to bring back Rahane in the team AFP

After dominating Sri Lanka in the Test series, Indian batting order crumbled for a paltry 112 in the first ODI. They eventually lost the match, handing Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and making the Mohali ODI their must win. Sourav Ganguly, among many reason for why India underperformed, has mentioned the absence of Ajinkya Rahane and has stressed upon the fact that he must be picked up and played at No. 4 for India to seal a victory.

Whatever happened in Dharamsala was an aberration and we all know the capability of these batsmen,” Ganguly told Hindustan Times. “What is worrying me though, is, are India playing the best team? 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.

India vs Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI preview and likely XIs: India look to redeem themselves from Dharamsala scars
India vs Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI preview and likely XIs: India look to redeem themselves from Dharamsala scars

There isn t much difference in the jobs of Nos. 1-3 in ODIs. So, going by the conditions in Dharamsala and Mohali, 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, he added.

While the absence of Virat Kohli is evident, Ganguly believes it was time he took rest.

“Virat has played for so long and he needed rest. People like Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey should use the opportunities and score big. But I do somehow feel they have to raise (the level of) their batting in such trying conditions. That s why I want the selectors to allow Rahane and Rahul 25-30 ODI games leading up to the World Cup. They will get used to those positions.

Ganguly has some advice for the batsmen and stand-in captain Rohit Sharma.

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.