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Virat Kohli terms Ajinkya Rahane a ‘floater’ in the team

He emphasised on Rahane's ability to open the innings and can even bat in the middle order.

Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring
India’s Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring his century during the second One Day International.
(Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

After the first game ended in a tame manner, India had their intentions clear for the second One-Day International as they crushed the host by a hefty margin of 105 runs. Being asked to bat first, Indian openers provided a dream start as they managed to put up a partnership of 114 runs together which set the tone for the incoming batsman.

Ajinkya Rahane has always been around as the ‘third opener’ in the limited-overs side as Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have opened the innings on most occasions. As Rohit was rested for this series, it was the perfect platform for Rahane to grab the opportunity with both hands and prove his stature in ‘colored jersey’ as well.

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He scored a 50+ in the first game and was disheartened by the fact that he wasn’t able to convert it into a big score. However, in the second ODI, he walked out with right fortitude and was able to convert his half century into a three figure score which was laced with 10 fours and 2 maximums.

Kohli lauded Rahane’s performance

In the post-match press conference, skipper Virat Kohli lauded Rahane’s performance and was delighted with the fact that he utilised the presented opportunity.

“Jinks has been part of the one-day setup for a while. He is someone we all felt had great potential at the top of the order but when Rohit and Shikhar as an opening partnership play well in one-day cricket, then that really becomes a powerful package for us,” Kohli said.

“But having said that, Jinks has always been there for us as the third opener, having gotten the opportunity in this series, so far he has batted well in both the games. Today also the way he paced his innings was really really nice, he was going run-a-ball, never fell behind the rate. The shorter format is something that we all know and he also knows that he wants to do really well because he is such an established Test player and is so solid there, he wants to make it count in these formats as well,” the Indian skipper added.

Virat felt that more than anything else it was the change of approach and making things simple that has helped Rahane do well in the series, given he has been a consistent Test player and had in the past surprisingly struggled in white ball cricket.

“Sometimes, as a batsman, you are undertaking too much pressure in those situations like some people do in Test cricket. I feel in this series, he has really started taking it as a cricket game, not necessarily a change of clothing or anything like that, I think he is enjoying his game much more in this series is what I see. It can only go up from here and improve his short-format cricket, which we are more certain of,” he further said.

Jinx the ‘floater’

Virat Kohli also pointed out that if he keeps on playing the way he is, it will definitely allow Indian team to play with an extra bowler going into big tournaments like 2019 World Cup.

He termed Rahane as a ‘floater’ who has the ability to open the innings and can even bat in the middle order.

“If he keeps performing like this, he is someone who has done the middle order job as well in the past, so he can very well be the floater for you in the middle order and he is someone that might allow you to take an extra bowler, in a big tournament like the 2019 World Cup, a big series before that as well,” Kohli pointed out.

“It all depends on who are the guys who can do two jobs in the team, there are very few guys who can open and play in the middle order and I think Ajinkya is one of them. In the future, we see him providing more balance to us as a side in terms of taking an extra bowling option maybe,” he said.

Praised the debutant for his exceptional bowling

Kohli also praised the young chinaman bowler, Kuldeep Yadav who was exceptional on his debut picking 3 wickets for just 50 runs.

“Usually bowlers bowl seam up deliveries turning in and cross seam bowling the googly but he can do both with cross seam so that becomes more difficult to pick from the wrist and when batsmen try to attack, he can slow his pace down and beat the batsman halfway into the pitch. So he is quite amazing with what he does with the ball and I’ve faced him in the IPL as well, it’s not easy to get away when he is bowling, especially if the wicket is dry like it was today, he becomes even more lethal. So credit to him for putting in a performance like that in his first bowling performance in ODIs,” the Indian captain concluded.

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