India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is set to warm the benches for the entire duration of the ongoing One Day International series against Sri Lanka. Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma has almost confirmed this.
Rahane, who struggled to score in the recently concluded three-Test rubber against Sri Lanka, was included in the ODI squad by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) selectors. However, he was not picked for the first game in Dharamsala on Sunday (December 10) and was again ignored for today's (December 13) second contest in Mohali.
With Rahane not part of the Twenty20 International squad, it was important for the team management to help him rediscover form. But that has not happened. He is likely to head to South Africa with poor form and low on confidence.
At the toss in Mohali, Rohit explained why Rahane continued to warm the benches. He said the team management doesn't want Rahane in the middle order.
"It is quite tempting the kind of skill he (Rahane) possesses but we have decided as a management that he is our top order batsman and don't want to shuffle with it. Not ideal to play around with anybody's position. At the same time, it is an opportunity for youngsters to step in," Rohit said when asked about Rahane.
It can be recalled that regular skipper Virat Kohli and the team management pushed opening batsman KL Rahul to the middle order in Sri Lanka and it did not work out. Eventually those failures led to his axing from the 50-over squad.
With Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan continue to open for India in the third ODI in Visakhapatnam on Sunday (December 17), Rahane will again sit out. Only way he can get in if there is an injury to any of the openers.