Ind vs Aus: 3 batsmen, 1 opening slot; Who will open with Shikhar Dhawan in 1st ODI?

Ind vs Aus ODI Series: With Rohit Sharma missing out on the limited-overs series, fans have been curious about who will open for India. KL Rahul, given his IPL 2020 form, is most likely to don the role as an opener. The interim vice-captain, on Wednesday, gave an update on role in the team.

He said that his batting order will completely depend on the format of the game and the demand of the situation. “Batting order will depend on the format I am playing and with what combination sits best for the team”, he said.

It’s no secret that Rahul loves batting at the top of the order which was once again proved in IPL 2020 where he managed winning Orange Cap batting as opener for KingsXI PUNJAB.

“At the last ODI series we played, I kept wickets. It’s a rule I am happy with and I am ready to play whatever role the team gives me,” he added.

 

Rahul’s inclusion in the team also gives the Indian team management an option to play an extra bowler or batsmen, depending on the condition.

“If I putting up consistent performances with the bat and the gloves, it gives us an option of playing an extra bowler or batsman. It just gives the team an extra point,” he said.

Given Rahul’s versatility, he can also be played in the middle order, leaving the top spot for Shubman Gill or Mayank Agarwal.

India vs Australia 1st ODI : KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal or Shubman Gill – who will partner Shikhar Dhawan ?

If India decide to not open with Rahul, they will need to find a partner for the in-form Dhawan. The race will be between another incumbent Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill.

Agarwal, now a Test regular, made a best of 32 in three innings in New Zealand, but that was over nine months ago.

Gill scored 440 in 14 innings, but was a lot mellower in his approach, his runs coming at a strike rate of 117.96. He hasn’t managed to add to his two India caps on the New Zealand tour of 2019, and it remains to be seen if India are willing to give either him or Agarwal a long run as back-up opener keeping in mind the 2023 World Cup.

For skipper Virat Kohli, the key will be to get the combination right in the 50-over games, which are currently low priority going into the next one year with a World Test Championship final spot and the T20 World Cup on their minds.

The last ODI series that India played in New Zealand was a nightmare for the ‘Men In Blue’ who lost 0-3.

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Agarwal played all three games in New Zealand with not much success but that would count for little as it happened eight months back.

With Shubman also in the mix, it will be a call that coach Ravi Shastri and Kohli will have to take considering the SCG pitch and the Australian attack.

Shastri on Sunday had a long one-on-one chat with Gill after the latter’s batting session.

“Nothing beats a good conversation about the great game,” Shastri tweeted with a picture of him and Gill where the Punjab youngster was seen listening to head coach with rapt attention.

Also Read:India vs Australia : Coach Ravi Shastri’s special ‘conversation’ session with Shubman Gill

There was not much difference in terms of form between Gill and Agarwal in the recently-held IPL. The KKR opener scored 440 runs while KXIP’s Agarwal had 418 runs in his kitty.

At least, nine players select themselves in the first XI for the ODIs.

The in-form Shikhar Dhawan, skipper Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul (another opening option), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah are automatic picks.

While Mohammed Shami may start in the first ODI with India’s current fastest bowler Navdeep Saini for company, there is a chance that Shardul Thakur may get a look-in if the Indian team management decides to rest one among Shami and Jasprit Bumrah looking at their workload.