Author: Ashok Shaw
Virat Kohli has a problem of plenty at the top ahead of the ODI series against Australia. With Rohit Sharma making a return after a forced rest, Kohli has to a toss-up between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul for the other opener’s slot. And the question is whom to exclude rather than whom to include?
Dhawan and Rahul teamed up in the T20I series against Sri Lanka and the two came up with a match-winning stand of 97 runs in the third T20I. Dhawan, who was making a comeback, also made a return to form with a breezy fifty, while Rahul showed his consistency with another score of fifty.
So, should Dhawan or Rahul partner Rohit in ODIs against Australia?
Here are some factors that can help India choose between Dhawan and Rohit for the ODI series.
Kohli may be tempted to go for Dhawan-Rohit as the left-right combination can work in favour of India. Opposition bowlers had to constantly change their line and length when bowling to left-right combination and that can make India’s job easier. Besides, Dhawan-Rohit has been a successful pair in ODIs for quite some time before Rahul entered the scene.
But Rahul has been consistent
Rahul has been consistent in the shorter format. Whenever Rahul has got the chance, he has made it count. Despite sporadic appearances for India, Rahul has maintained a high standard of batting and lived up to the expectations most of the time.
On the other hand, Dhawan has been guilty of inconsistent show and not making good his starts.
Rahul-Rohit more successful than Dhawan-Rohit
Although Dhawan-Rohit may be a bigger hit overall, in recent times, Rahul-Rohit have been a bigger hit in the shorter format.
Check this stats: In 52 T20I innings, Rohit-Dhawan average 33.51 and have scored at a run-rate of 8.28. But in 8 T20I innings, Rahul-Rohit average 55.62 at a run-rate of 10.03.
The reason is Rahul is able to match stroke for stroke with Rohit, but Dhawan takes his time to settle down.
Rahul goes on top gear from the word go
Of late, Dhawan’s strike rate has been a cause of worry as he struggles to find the gaps initially or even rotate the strike. But that’s not the case with Rahul. The KXIP batsman strikes at close to 200 in the powerplay overs, giving India a fiery start along with Rohit.
Verdict: Rahul-Rohit is the in-form pair at the moment, but Dhawan’s contribution as Rohit’s opening partner cannot be denied either. But Kohli may choose to go with form, and select Rahul as Rohit’s partner instead of Dhawan.
Cover image credits: India TV