India vs Australia: Rohit Sharma "An Obvious Choice", Shikhar Dhawan And KL Rahul Compete For Second Spot, Says Vikram Rathour
Shikhar Dhawan, who made a comeback in the T20I side in the just-concluded three-match series against Sri Lanka, was among the runs, while KL Rahul, too, is having a great time with the bat.
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. Rohit had a phenomenal 2019, having struck five centuries in the World Cup. Dhawan, who made a comeback in the T20I 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 January 14. The second ODI will be played in Rajkot on January 17 and the third in Bengaluru on January 19.
Asked about the relevance of the series in a T20 World Cup year, Rathour said, "It's a different format and cricket is a game of confidence. So as a batter and bowler, especially when you are playing against a team like Australia, who are one of the better teams in the world, performances do make a difference. It gives you a lot of confidence."
"We'll take it as any other series and playing against one of the better sides in the world, we are looking to do well as a team, looking to perform and win if possible," added the batting coach.
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.
Rathour was asked about the future of all-rounder Kedar Jadhav and he said it was for the selectors to decide.
"That's the issue the selectors need to deal with. He's (Kedar) in the squad, he's done well in the past.
So the selection will depend on what we see as the team requires. His long-term future is for the selectors to decide,"Rathour said.
The batting coach said Kedar has not bowled in recent times because the main fast bowlers have done well.
"It's not that he (Kedar) can't bowl. He hasn't been used because our main fast bowlers have done well. He gives you the sixth option. So in case the team feels need for a sixth option, in case somebody has an off day..."
Australia possess some of the best pacers in the world, and have come with a four-pronged attack, comprising Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Kane Richardson.
So what is the game plan against the pacers? Rathour replied, "All of our batters have played against them quite a lot. They know these bowlers, their strengths, the areas where they bowl - so the game plan will be according to that.
"It's a good surface we are playing on and nothing different basically. Just take it as any other team."
Finally, he was asked about the left-arm pacers who have troubled the Indian batsmen. "I don't think it's left-arm seamers in any particular way. Good bowlers will trouble batters and Mitchell Starc is a good bowler.
"So people like Rohit and Virat have their own plans. All those things have been discussed and they are working on those things," he signed off.
Meanwhile, Rohit was hit on his thumb during training, prompting him to take a break, but he was batting in the nets again.