Home English ‘Rahane is a strong candidate for No. 4 slot in World Cup’.
The Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said the experimentation in the middle order will continue for some more time though the conditions make Ajinkya Rahane a strong No. 4 candidate for the World Cup in England next year.
He also said that there is already a core group of players in place except the above slot.
South Africa takes on India in the first of the six-match ODI series in Durban on Thursday. The Indian team had an optional practice session on Wednesday, with Kohli and pace bowlers taking a day off.
“I had said earlier that Ajinkya Rahane would be looked at as a third opener but that situation can change because he has batted at No. 4 in a World Cup (in 2015) before. These conditions are such that you get to play fast bowling throughout the innings so he becomes a strong candidate for No. 4. Other than him we have Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey.
“We don’t want to be one-dimensional. It depends whose technique is more suited to what spot, especially, in that particular country, he added.
“The middle order is something we are still looking at. The combination is working well for us with Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav and M.S. Dhoni rotating and batting together.
Talking about the current series, Kohli said this would be a tough assignment for India’s leg-spinners who are playing in foreign conditions for the first time.
“We are one of the few teams, or probably the only team in world cricket, to be blessed with two wrist-spinners, while Kedar Jadhav is doing the conventional job pretty well for the team. Wrist-spinners help you in any conditions in the world.
“Wristspinners can go for six an over but they will pick you three wickets as well, which is eventually the difference in the game,” said Kohli.
India has a poor ODI record in South Africa, having won only won 5 out of 27 it has played against South Africa. The team has never won a bilateral series here or beaten South Africa at Durban in ODI cricket.
“We obviously want to win every series that we play. Thinking of records or doing something that hasn’t been done before is not something you think of before achieving it. It just adds extra pressure, which is not needed.
Kohli expects the pitches to be much more batting-friendly in ODIs than what was seen in the Test series. “The wickets are going to be much better than the Test series, because of the format and this pitch looks pretty balanced I would say for a good game of cricket.”