Australia v India ODIs: Five talking points


As India head into the five-match series with the World Cup winners, a look at some of the subtexts to the contest.

Where will Rahane bat?

Ajinkya Rahane was left out of the ODI team during the tour of Bangladesh in June last year, with MS Dhoni publicly admitting that it was a harsh yet justified decision. Rahane was dropped for the second ODI, following a score of nine in 25 balls when India were chasing over 300 in the first match, and Dhoni said that Rahane’s struggles when there was less pace on the surface meant he was not able to rotate the strike freely. Rahane’s next opportunity in ODIs came in the tour of Zimbabwe in July 2015, and since then his scores in the format read 34, 63, 15, 60, 51, 4, 45 and 87 at a strike-rate of 86.09. That last innings of 89 came off 58 balls, incidentally.

In those five ODIs against South Africa, Rahane batted at Nos 3 (twice), 6 and 4 (twice) which gave those of us watching mixed and frankly muddled messages. In Australia last year, during the tri-series that preceded the World Cup, he batted at No 3 once and then opened in the next three matches. Come the World Cup, and he was used at No 7 once and No 4 thrice. In the upcoming five ODIs, it remains to be seen which place the management uses Rahane – at third of fourth.

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