Cricket

A good dilemma to have, says Vikram Rathour

Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour. File

Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour. File   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

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“There are still a couple of days to go. The management will sit down and make the choice,” Rathour told reporters.

When Shikhar Dhawan injured his knee during the Syed Muhstaq Ali Trophy, K.L. Rahul got a longer run at the top of the order during India’s white-ball matches at home over the last couple of months.

Despite having proved his mettle, come Tuesday, Rahul may still have to be benched for the first of the three ODIs versus Australia.

With Dhawan and Rahul coming good against Sri Lanka in last week’s T20 series, it will be a toss-up between the two for the series-opener at the Wankhede Stadium.

Coach happy

Batting coach Vikram Rathour was happy for the team management to be facing a “good dilemma” but stressed that only one of them would start the series.

“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, Rahul is in great form, so we’ll deal with it when we have to. There are still a couple of days to go.

“The management will sit down and make a choice. I don’t see it as an issue, one of them will have to sit out,” Rathour said on Sunday.

Over the last year, the team management has tried to accommodate the triumvirate in ODIs. In last year’s World Cup in England, Rahul started off at No. 4 with Kohli separating him and the openers before suffering an injury.

However, when Dhawan was sidelined, Rahul grabbed the opportunity to open the innings in ODIs.

Rahul complemented Rohit to perfection, garnering 185 runs at 61.67 and a strike rate of 89, including a hundred and a fifty in three ODIs against Kieron Pollard’s men.

Rathour, however, stressed the team management would avoid experimenting at the start of the ODI series like it did in the recent T20 contests.

“We did that in T20s, because we were willing to give them some game time. But, against Australia, in the first game, we’ll start with our best XI. And I think everyone will bat according to the order that has been tried out. As the series goes on, we’ll see if we can experiment,” he said.

Optional nets

Interestingly, Rohit and Rahul were among the six Indians to participate in the optional nets at the Wankhede on Sunday.

Rohit even got an injury scare, with a throwdown by Rathour hitting his thumb. But the vice-captain returned for another hit in no time and didn’t look in any discomfort.

With the three openers at their best, the team management will surely have its task cut out while finalising the team for the opener on Tuesday.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 2:06:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/australia-tour-of-india-india-vs-australia-odi-series-vikram-rathour-on-opening-combination/article30549467.ece

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