Ajinkya Rahane has been a real find for the Indian cricket team in the longer format of the game, an absolutely fabulous player. He has been India’s most consistent batsman in the Test format over the last couple of years and has come away unscathed from each and every away tour, in a real period of transition, unlike Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara.
For all his exploits in the Test arena though, Rahane has been a real disappointment for India in the shorter formats of the game. The selectors made the right call in dropping Rahane from India’s T20I squad to face England. It’s high time they took the same route with Rahane in the 50-overs format.
After 72 ODIs, Rahane averages a meager 32.88 with a strike rate below 80, which is unacceptable in the modern game. Since his ODI debut, Rahane has the lowest average of all the India’s top order batsmen in the 50-overs format. The numbers are secondary, Rahane simply hasn’t looked convincing enough whenever he has gotten a run in the ODI team.
There are many better options available for India currently, who are more suited to the limited overs game. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul are all more suited towards opening the batting for India in the shorter formats. The emergence of Rishabh Pant has given India another option at the top of the order and a youngster, who could go on to play for India for the next 15 years,
Even India’s ex-limited overs skipper, MS Dhoni, has cast aspersions over Rahane’s limited overs batting abilities, doubting his abilities to rotate the strike in slow and low conditions. Dhoni, knows a thing or two about batting in the limited overs, arguably being the greatest ODI batsman of all time.
It’s high time, the selectors paid heed to Dhoni’s opinion and preserve Rahane for the format he is most suited for which unarguably is Test cricket.