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Ajinkya Rahane's Fluctuating Batting Position Hurting India

Ajinkya Rahane's Fluctuating Batting Position Hurting India

Ajinkya Rahane's frequent movement within the batting order is now beginning to affect Team India's performance.

Ajinkya Rahane has scored 1820 runs from 61 matches so far with two centuries and 12 half-centuries.


From carrying drinks on to field, to leading the side, to floating up and down the order -- Ajinkya Rahane has done it all in his short international career. (India vs South Africa: Batting Woes Confront Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Men as They Look to Save Series)
Rahane, who made his debut as an opener against England at Chester-le-street in 2011, smashed a 44-ball 40.
In his second game he secured his maiden ODI half-century, smashing 54 off just 47 balls. England may have won the five-match ODI series 3-0, after a tied game and an abandoned game due to rain, but it was an ideal start to a promising cricketer like Rahane. (India vs South Africa: We Have to be Smarter Than the Last Three ODIs, Says Harbhajan Singh)
But then everything changed when Rohit Sharma was pushed to open the innings along with Shikhar Dhawan. (India vs South Africa 4th ODI: Proteas Grapple With Team Balance After JP Duminy's Unlucky Exit)
Flamboyance of Dhawan and crispness of Rohit Sharma timing, coupled with Virat Kohli's preference to bat at No. 3, saw the talented Mumbai batsman move down the order.
And since then he has been what the experts call a 'floater'. But Rahane was asked to bat at No. 3 again during the on-going ODI series against South Africa.
Rahane scored 60 and 51 respectively in the first two ODIs after which he was bizarrely dropped to No. 5 again for the third ODI in Rajkot when Dhoni decided to promote himself at No. 4 in the run chase of 271.
The constant tinkering of the batting line-up, especially Rahane's is now beginning to affect the team's performance.
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar blasted the Indian team management for their fickle-mindedness.
"If you don't have the confidence in Anjikya Rahane, you pushed him down the order. The man gets you two half-centuries and then you suddenly push him to No. 6 or No. 7, so what are you trying to say that he is not good enough for that position? Then bring in Gurkeerat Maan, but that is what they don't want to do and that's the problem," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Dhoni claims that team management is looking to try out options before the World T20 and looking for the best possible line-up.
But instead of doing any good, it has left players rather confused.
Gavaskar puts it rather bluntly, "They are tinkering with batting order and therefore the guys don't know what their job is.
"I would imagine if Dhoni is saying he needs guys at No. 6 and No. 7, actually if he puts himself and give the guys like Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane at No. 3, No.4 and No. 5, it gives them to play and bat for longer overs, then you know it could change because he (Dhoni) himself is the best finisher in the game.
Stats would back Gavaskar's claim as Rahane has done well as an opener. From 37 innings, he has scored 1208 runs, which includes two centuries and seven half-centuries at an average of 33.56.
At no. 3, Rahane has scored 176 runs from 5 innings with three half-centuries.
Rahane's most consistent phase in terms of batting position was during the World Cup, where he was a constant force at No. 4.
The Mumbaikar responded with a potentially match-winning 60-ball 79 against the South Africans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
But sadly he couldn't do much in the World Cup as he could only manage 138 runs from the next five innings.
He was dropped from the batting line-up and then suddenly out-of-the-blue he was made captain for the ODIs against Zimbabwe in July.
Explaining the reason behind selecting Rahane to lead the side, chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil had said, "We're very happy the way his career is shaping up. He is one of the most consistent batsmen for India. That's why we want to see his other aspects. We have given him this opportunity and we'll definitely back him."
Asked how Rahane could be named skipper when he hasn't yet cemented his place in the ODI squad, Patil said the selectors believe in the Mumbaikar's abilities.
"If five of us (selectors) have decided to give the responsibility to Rahane, it means we are confident of his ability and we want him to do well and we would like to judge him also at the same time," Patil had added.
Rahane opened the innings in Harare but could only manage one half-century there.
So the question that really needs to be asked here is why is the team management who reckon that Rahane who "is one of the most consistent batsmen for India" doesn't get to hold on to a permanent place in the team.
And where has the so-called "confidence" disappeared. These are questions that needs answering if they have to become a top side in international side.
Muhammad Saqib

Muhammad Saqib

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