‘Intense competition for opening slot great for Indian cricket’

Updated January 13, 2020

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MUMBAI: Australian captain Aaron Finch (L) and Steve Smith carry chairs as the team walks back after a group photo session on Sunday.—AP
MUMBAI: Australian captain Aaron Finch (L) and Steve Smith carry chairs as the team walks back after a group photo session on Sunday.—AP

MUMBAI: In Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, India are spoilt for choice at the top of the order, and batting coach Vikram Rathour on Sunday called it a “good dilemma” to have.

Sharma had a phenomenal 2019, having struck five centuries in the World Cup. Dhawan, who made a comeback in the Twenty20 side in the just-concluded three-match series against Sri Lanka, was also among the runs, while Rahul, too, is having a great time with the bat.

“It’s a good dilemma to have. Rohit is an obvious choice of course. Both of them (Shikhar and Rahul) are playing well. Shikhar Dhawan has done well in one- dayers and Rahul is in great form. So we’ll deal with it when we have to,” Rathour said.

“There are still a couple of days to go. The management will sit down and make the choice,” he told reporters ahead of the first ODI against Australia.

The series starts in Mumbai on Tuesday. The second ODI will be played in Rajkot on January 17 and the third in Bengaluru on January 19.

Rahul can also keep wickets and the coach was asked whether there was a thought process to use Rahul as a stumper. “We haven’t really started thinking on those lines yet. Rahul can keep, that’s the skill that he has. So that will depend if the team management feels at any stage we require that.”

Rathour also asserted that he does not see any issue with the middle-order.

“It’s [middle-order] not a weakness. Few innings back we scored 383. We’ve been scoring runs, our batters have done well. Shreyas [Iyer] is batting really well. [Rishabh] Pant has played a couple of useful innings. So I don’t see an issue. Top three are scoring heavily, so that’s a good problem to have, but we have enough options and don’t see any issues with that,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2020