Why Rahane was kept on sidelines? Asks former Cricketer Yajurvindra Singh

Sharp Catch

An Exclusive blog by Yajurvindra Singh for Sportsnasha 

The Sri Lanka versus India 1st One Day International cricket match played at the beautiful Himachal landscape of Dharamshala went totally against the run of play. India not only dominated the Test series at home but had demolished the Sri Lankan’s in their backyard as well.

The visitors had a record of having lost 12 ODI matches before this encounter and so India, the number One side in the World under Rohit Sharma, the newly appointed captain was expected to win easily. Sri Lanka won the game comfortably showcasing how unpredictable the royal game of cricket can be.

India was put into bat by the Sri Lankan’s and on a seaming& lively wicket. The in-form Indian batsmen were made to look inadequate and technically faulty. The successful opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan fell prey to the accuracy and guile of S. Lakmal and A. Mathews. The middle order of S. Iyer, D. Karthik and M. Pandey did not have the skills or technique to encounter the swing of the Sri Lankan bowlers. India did miss the presence of Virat Kohli but one was bewildered as to why a batsman of the caliber of Ajinkya Rahane was kept in the side-lines. I do not accept the reason that Rohit Sharma gave that Rahane is now slotted permanently as the 3rd opener and so was not considered for the middle order slot. India needs Rahane to get into form before the South Africa tour and so needed to play him at whicheverposition available. He is one of the most accomplished technically correct batsman that India has and his records overseas has been extremely good.

M.S. Dhoni once again proved that experience is an important ingredient when the conditions are difficult. He played a truly fighting knock and showed the value that he brings to the side, when most needed.

The conditions that the Indian side faced in Dharamshala are most likely to be what they may confront in South Africa and England next year. The limited over cricket has played a definite negative impact on the modern batsman’s technique to play the ball when it moves in the air and off the wicket. The only way to be successful in such conditions is to play late with soft hands and look to place the ball for singles rather than being flamboyant to play big shots. This basic and elementary skills which were drilled into the earlier generations of batsmen seems to have disappeared because of playing the more commercial and lucrative form of the game- the 20-20 and the one day formats.

India, however, will most likely win the One day series at the end, but they have two important areas of concern. One is batting on a lively bouncy wicket and the other is their close-in catching.

The positive from this game is that even in defeat India looked like a team that combined well. Losing is a part and parcel of the game, it’s how to get up and fight another day which is important. The present Indian side has shown that characteristics earlier and one expects them to do so now.

Best of Luck India!

Yajurvindra Singh