With Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in their ranks, India may be spoilt for choice as far as the opening combination is concerned but as per batting coach Vikram Rathour, this problem of plenty is a good headache to have for both the management and the selection panel.
Rohit and Dhawan, ever since they started opening together in 2013, have become one of India’s most successful opening pairs at the top scoring 4708 runs from 105 ODI innings. But while he was gone for a major chunk last year, KL Rahul grabbed his opportunities at the top and formed impressive partnerships with Rohit.
Last month, Rahul put up scores of 62,11 and 91 in the T20Is against West Indies, and 6, 102 and 77 in the ODIs and extended his fine form with 45 and 54 in India’s 2-0 win over Sri Lanka. Dhawan, since his comeback, has played a couple of impactful and crucial knocks as well. With the three-match ODI series against Australia nearing, what combinations will India go ahead with remains to be seen.
Virat Kohli recently stated that he will not pit the openers against each other but considering the series against Australia and Rathour echoes his thoughts.
“It’s a good dilemma to have. Rohit is an obvious choice of course. Both of them (Shikhar and Rahul) are playing well. Shikhar has done well in one- dayers and Rahul is in great form. So we’ll deal with it when we have to,” Rathour said on Sunday. “There are still a couple of days to go. The management will sit down and make the choice,” he told reporters ahead of the first ODI against Australia.
With the T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in October, India have 11 T20I matches left – six of which are against Australia. Sure enough, the IPL will have a huge impact on who eventually boards the flight to Australia but Rathour reckons India can sure do with playing T20Is in the build up to the World Cup.
“It’s a different format and cricket is a game of confidence. So as a batter and bowler, especially when you are playing against a team like Australia, who are one of the better teams in the world, performances do make a difference. It gives you a lot of confidence,” he added. “We’ll take it as any other series and playing against one of the better sides in the world, we are looking to do well as a team, looking to perform and win if possible.”