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Rohit Sharma reveals who will replace Dhawan as opener

While Rahul failed in the middle-order, Rahane excelled at the top.

Rohit Sharma
Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahead of the first ODI match against Australia in Chennai, Indian vice captain Rohit Sharma addressed the media and threw light on the many connotations around the Indian team leading into the series. The Men in Blue will go into the series with intentions to secure a win, which will also take them to the top of the ICC ODI team rankings, that coupled with their supremacy in the Test rankings will mark the Indian team’s dominance across formats.

While there were lots of talks based on the series, the primary focus was on the opening combination since Dhawan will miss the first few games for personal reasons. They have two prime options with both KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane proficient openers, the team management has to make the call and the other will bat in the middle order.

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Dhawan’s absence will be felt

“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.

He clarified the team management’s idea that Rahane who did exceedingly well on the Caribbean tour opening in Rohit’s absence will take up the role. That means Rahul despite his failure in Sri Lanka will continue to hold the No.4 position. “Ajinkya had a great series in West Indies where he was the man of the series and hence he could assume this role,” Rohit added.

On roles of different players in the squad

He spoke about the different roles for players in the team. He also reminded that before the Sri Lanka series, skipper Virat Kohli had made it clear that he saw Rahul as a number 4 batsman in the side. He also mentioned that the problem of plenty is a good one to have since it gave the coach and the captain, enough options to choose from, which would be beneficial for the side.

KL Rahul failed to make a statement in the Sri Lankan series as he was awfully poor. Throughout the series, he was a disappointment at the coveted position of No.4. Hence, it was being considered that he may open in absence of Dhawan.

On the other hand, Ajinkya Rahane was in a spectacular form in the West Indies series at the top. He got just a single chance in the Sri Lankan series and hence, the team management would be looking forward to giving him a longer run.

The India-Australia series kicks off on Sunday as both teams take on each other for a total of five ODIs and three T20Is. This is going to be a crucial series for India as winning it with a margin of 4-1 or better will shoot them right to the No.1 spot in the ODI rankings.

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