With Rohit Sharma rested for the West Indies limited-over series, India captain Virat Kohli said that Ajinkya Rahane will open alongside Shikhar Dhawan in the upcoming five-match ODI series starting tomorrow. Rohit, who opened for India along with Shikhar Dhawan in the just-concluded Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom, has been rested for the West Indies tour. The decision means that prolific youngster Rishabh Pant has to wait for his turn in the middle-order. Asked about opening combination, Kohli said:”We have Ajinkya who we had as a back-up opener in the Champions Trophy. He will start for sure with Shikhar Dhawan (in West Indies series). He is someone who has done well at the opener’s slot.”
Opening is the slot that suits Rahane, feels his skipper. “He has batted in the middle order also but we see him to be more powerful in the opening slot, that is where he can play his game the best,” Kohli said on the eve of the first ODI beginning here tomorrow. “So, during the course of all these five games, Ajinkya will open,” Kohli put all speculations regarding top order to rest. West Indies are currently ranked ninth at the ICC charts and they are still uncertain of a spot for the 2019 World Cup but Kohli said that his side cannot take any side lightly.
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“In international cricket, every game is an opportunity for the players to go out and do something. It improves your confidence whenever you come out at the international level and play. It is not about taking any opposition lightly. “You have to come out and play good consistent cricket. It is another series we are looking to play good cricket. I am absolutely certain that the players are committed to playing their best,” said the captain.
Asked about the mindset of the players after just coming out of a high-profile tournament like the Champions Trophy, he said, “It is a lovely atmosphere to be a part of after a high-profile tournament like the Champions Trophy. It is great to be in a relaxing place. “All the players are relaxed and are looking forward to some cricket in the West Indies where cricket is always enjoyed because of the way culture is here. It is pretty relaxed and you are at ease. As such, it is always a nice feeling coming here.”