Team India, who is known for their strong batting line-up, hold the title ‘A bucket full of openers’ for a reason. When you have four big names auditioning for an opening pair, you ought to have confusion. Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul. Each name comes with certain heroism and conditions apply star. Indeed they are fascinating yet confusing options for India.
Highest scorer of Champion’s trophy Shikhar Dhawan was actually a replacement for KL Rahul. A right-handed batsman who was struggling with injury missed out IPL and then CT 2017, and Dhawan got a surprising reward of his IPL performances. The southpaw capitalized it to the fullest in big ICC event and won his consecutive golden bat award. KL Rahul is yet to get better whereas Shikhar Dhawan is making the 50+ score a habit.
Ajinkya Rahane, who opened against West Indies in Rohit Sharma’s absence after a long one year, had to make way for him when he is a fit and fine. Rahane remained 2nd highest run scorer of the ODI series with 297 runs in 4 matches but he is unlucky when it comes to his position in the team. Even after proving himself in the West Indies tour, he should not forget that he played these matches only because Rohit was on rest.
Although they have different batting style still they have got all the capabilities of an opener. Two double centuries show what the Hitman of Indian cricket- Rohit can do on his day. Shikhar’s records in big tournaments speak for him, Rahane with his temperament and Rahul with his class are exceptional. All are aggressive when it comes off using powerplay overs also technically perfect enough to face new swinging balls and are ‘partly’ reliable.
If you still try to dig deep and think about the other cricketing aspects, Rohit is the lone part-time spinner but his bowling skills have not been used for a long time and are also unnecessary in future. Rahane has an edge in fielding amongst them. KL Rahul is the only one who is lacking experience whereas all other three have played enough International cricket.
Rahul faced many injuries in his short career whereas Rohit is no different. Here they have a lesson to learn from both captain Virat Kohli and former skipper MS Dhoni. Both Kohli and Dhoni are playing for years and are probably with the least Injuries in the troop. The way they work on their fitness is commendable and that makes them exceptions. We have seen talent been wasted because of injuries before, and Indian cricket future won’t afford to lose Rohit and Rahul now. They are some serious talent.
Well, the real question arises when all these names are fit and available for a certain series. What will be the pickings? An inclusion of all these for just two spots will be stupidity. Rahane played on number 4 before where he has a better average than the opening slot, also Rahul had his good time in middle order during IPL and T20I’s. Since no.4 is a slight worry for India, a team won’t mind trying any of these two there. Otherwise, Rahane and Rahul will have to wait for their place in the side because Rohit and Dhawan have done enough to retain their place for a long time.