Constant shift in the batting order is not healthy for Rahane, says Virat Kohli

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Constant shift in the batting order is not healthy for Rahane, says Virat Kohli

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SportsCafe Desk


Virat Kohli has stated that continuous shifting of Ajinkya Rahane in the batting order is not healthy for him. Keeping an eye in the 2019 World Cup, the Indian skipper has also emphasized on keeping up the momentum and executive out of the box ideas that will help India bringing home the trophy.

In the last series against the Windies, Rahane accumulated scores of 62, 103, 72, 60 and 39 in five one-day internationals. Although those scores came against a weak Windies lineup on the flat tracks in the Caribbean, this is a quite straightforward reflection of consistency, an understanding of limited-overs cricket, and more importantly, control in the art of batting. And yet, he finds himself on the sidelines ahead of the first one-dayer against Sri Lanka.

Rahane has also unselfishly contributed to team's cause whenever he got the opportunity. He strengthened the team in the middle order and when the team’s regular opener was not available, he opened the innings as well. Kohli showed concerns about him and called the rotating his order as unfair. 

"Shikhar Dhawan is an impact player. Shikhar and Rohit, we know what they have done (achieved) in the past together. We understand their potential also Jinks (Rahane's nickname) understands that at this stage, he is the third opener in the team," said Kohli as reported by PTI.

"We certainly back him (Rahane) because he has been shifted around a bit in the batting order, which is not healthy for a guy, who likes to open in the shorter format. See, he grabbed his opportunities in the West Indies and he was man-of-the-series and he continues to be in the setup. I think he (Rahane) is much more relaxed after that West Indies series. Yes, he felt the pressure before but he has overcome that now. He is enjoying his cricket," he stated.

"Experimenting" is a word that's being thrown around in Indian cricket of late, with the focus on building a core group ahead of the World Cup in 2019 and they don’t want to leave any stone unturned. As part of the experiment, KL Rahul has been confirmed as India's latest No. 4 in the 50-over format, a position that hasn't been a permanent spot for a player from the Indian team in the last two years, with as many as nine having batted at that position since January 2015. The Indian skipper cleared that they want specific roles for the certain players as only two years left in the grandest tournament of the cricket. 

"KL will definitely be playing in the middle-order. We are not going to be predictable or have a set pattern anymore in terms of what we are going to do in ODI or T20 cricket. Anyone could go anywhere. That's what we are looking to do.

"For us, it is about the time frame. It is not about which opposition we are playing. You can't pick and choose. I have never believed in that and we as a team don't believe in that. Two years to go for the World Cup and now is the time to give players certain roles to get into the groove and understand what we need to do.

"We definitely believe in our core group - that is the only way you can reach finals of a big tournament and be consistent as an ODI side. But if you want to be world-beaters and win everywhere in the world, you need to do certain things that are out of the box as well. So we're all ready to embrace that," skipper explained.

Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey played 81 first-class matches and scored 5400 runs. His performance in domestic circuit awarded him the spot in the Indian National team and he grabbed that opportunity with both hands. However, in the terms of experience, Kedar Jadhav has upper hand as he already played 25 ODI matches for India while scoring 565 with an average of 56.50. It will be a tough call for Kohli and the Indian skipper also hinted that Jadhav and Pandey will fight for the middle-order remaining spot. 

"Someone like Manish, he has done well and has grabbed his opportunities. He has got a hundred in Australia as well, and we know about his talent and what he brings onto the field as well. He is a super fit guy and has a bright future ahead of him. So he will certainly be backed.

"All three guys (including Kedar Jadhav) will have to compete for two spots in the middle-order. There are no guarantees I would say. As long as there is healthy competition, everyone will keep pushing each other and that is healthy for Indian cricket," the skipper opined.

In the absence of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, India might play Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the team and Kohli also hinted at their inclusions.

Kohli further added, "I see only two guys (spinners) taking the field. Now who are going to be those guys it really depends you know what we feel like going in as a team. But see having wrist spinners in the team is always an advantage you see teams across the world they at least have one wrist spinner if not two helping their side giving important breakthroughs."

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