Rohit Sharma calls Ajinkya Rahane a back-up opener in limited-overs cricket

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Rohit Sharma calls Ajinkya Rahane a back-up opener in limited-overs cricket

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SportsCafe Desk


After not picking Ajinkya Rahane in the team for the first ODI against Sri Lanka, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has stated that he doesn’t want to change Rahane’s position and sees him as a back-up opener in the side. He has also credited the Lankan bowlers for making the full use of the conditions.

After being reduced to a paltry score of 29/7, India were in danger of scoring the all-time lowest ODI total, but they managed to avoid the embarrassment thanks to MS Dhoni's fighting knock of 65 runs that took the total to 112. The ignominious batting display raised doubts about India’s ability to play swing bowlers with elan and also made the experts question India leaving out one of the most potent players against spin, Rahane. However, Rohit explained the axe, stating that Rahane was dropped only because they couldn't find a place for him in the opening slot.

"I think we made it clear in Sri Lanka that he is an opening batsman and we don't want to keep changing his batting slot. It plays on anyone's mind not just his, if one's batting order keeps on changing,” Rohit said in the post-match press conference, reported the Quint.

"We have identified him as a top-order batsman and that's the only reason he has to sit out. Having said that we understand the runs he scored in the past few series. We want to give these guys [Manish] Pandey, [Kedar] Jadhav, [Shreyas] Iyer fair amount of games before we start touring abroad. It's important that they take the opportunity." 

Suranga Lakmal made the most of Thisara Perera’s luck with the coin on the seam-friendly conditions, taking a career-best 4/13 to play the lead role in the team’s seven-wicket win. One of his victims was the Indian skipper, caught behind on review early, as the hosts imploded to 112 all out. His fiery spell was a classic demonstration of swing bowling and Rohit also didn’t forget to shower praise on the 30-year-old.

"Credit should go to the Sri Lankan bowlers, they made full use of the conditions but, as a team, as a batting unit, days like these will teach us a lot of things. We as a team want to thrive in such conditions and come out on top. Today was not the ideal day and hopefully boys can learn from it and next time we are put in this situation we know how to tackle that and come out of it.”

India could only manage to score 11/3 in the first 10 overs - the lowest in a match featuring two Full Members in the last five years – and reduced to 29 for 7 by the time the 20th over was completed. Rohit said the idea was to weather the early storm, but the loss of wickets in quick succession meant that plan didn't fall into place.

“We knew conditions were going to be tough but sometimes when you are put in such situations, you have to bat to the situation, which means we've got to respect the bowlers. If you notice, any bowler who would have bowled in that channel would have got wickets. For us, we were trying to survive in those conditions because we knew that if initial overs get over, the wicket will get better. But we lost wickets and we were also not scoring at pace, which put us in even more trouble.

"I don't think we played any rash shots, they bowled in the right channel, kept us guessing all the time and batsmen were made to play all the time. It is an eye-opener, we will learn from it. It is a young batting group, the guys, including myself, will learn and play us out of these situations well next time."

Both the countries will square off for the second match of the series at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on December 13. 

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