The India-Australia ODI series is all set to kick off on the 17th of September, with both teams vying for the top spot in the ODI rankings. While on current form, you would have to give India the edge, you can never really count out Australia.
India has had a fruitful last 12 months in the ODI format, winning almost everything, and that too convincingly.
Shikhar Dhawan has opted out of the first 3 ODIs in order to take care of his ailing wife. This opens the door for Ajinkya Rahane, who could be deployed in the openers role, with Rahul/Pandey slotting into the number 4 spot.
Two out of Rahul, Rahane and Pandey should make it to the XI and it would be very interesting to see as to what combination Virat Kohli and co. opt for.
Rahane was used as the opener in the West Indies series, where he ended up winning the Man of the Series award and thus could force himself into the position, something that Rohit Sharma has almost confirmed in his pre match press conference.
“Shikhar’s absence will be felt, his form has been crucial to our success, right from the Champions Trophy to the Sri Lanka series, but we have a great bench strength and there are guys who can replace him” Rohit said.
“Ajinkya had a great series in West Indies where he was the man of the series and hence he could assume this role,” he added.
During the Sri Lanka series, Virat Kohli made it very clear that he considered Rahul to flourish at the number 4 spot, but with Dhawan’s absence, it felt as if Rahul could be promoted to the opening slot, as he has always excelled in the role.
But Rahane’s performances in the Caribbean make a strong case for him assuming Dhawan’s role.
The management have been put into a tricky situation here, but it is very important for them to keep the 2019 World Cup in mind while taking a call, as the number 4 spot is of paramount concern for the Indian ODI team. One from Rahul and Pandey should assume that role during the World Cup and thus this series becomes an important one for whoever is deemed fit for that role