Ajinkya Rahane could start in the opening slot now with Dhawan gone, says Rohit Sharma

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Ajinkya Rahane could start in the opening slot now with Dhawan gone, says Rohit Sharma

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SportsCafe Desk


India cricket team vice-captain Rohit Sharma thinks Ajinkya Rahane could be one of the more probable replacements for Shikhar Dhawan, who had to leave the squad for the first 3 ODIs to attend to his unwell wife. The opener believed that a change in a partner would not affect his game in any way.

India's squad was thrown into an untimely conundrum when in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan handed in a leave request to attend to his unwell wife. Although the side is yet to confirm a replacement for the southpaw, team’s vice-captain and opener, Rohit Sharma, believes that Ajinkya Rahane could be a likely replacement.

Dhawan has been in terrific form since the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this year and he took his purple patch into the Sri Lanka tour, amassing a mammoth 358 runs in the Test series that earned him the award for the Man of the Series. He even scored a scintillating 132 in the opening ODI against the Lankans.

Despite being well aware of the huge void left by him in the squad, Rohit Sharma believes their bench strength can see this through. Speaking at the press conference on Friday, Sharma said, “We have great bench strength. The kind of form he was in of late, he had a big role to play in the team's recent achievements. But, we have got a few guys to replace him."

“Ajinkya (Rahane) is one of them. He had a great run in the West Indies tour and won the man of the series award. He can come and take up that role anytime. We have got guys who can take on the role and perform well," added Sharma.

Although KL Rahul would be a contender for the opening slot, Rahane will definitely have a stronger case to present following his magnificent stint on the West Indies tour earlier this year where he had opened for team India. He had scored 62, 103, 72, 60 and 39 in the five ODI series.

Asked if the change of partners in the other end would unsettle him in any way, the Mumbai batsman was quick to deny it. “The partner doesn't matter, to be honest. It's what the conditions have to offer, what sort of pitch you are playing in. At the end of the day you have to give your team a good start,” said Sharma.

He added, “If I see someone struggling at the other end, I will have to take up the role and if they see I'm struggling, they'll take up that role. That's the planning we have in our setup.”

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