ICC World Cup 2019: What are the odds for Rahane making a return?

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India has only a handful of ODI games left ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 in England starting end of May next year. There are still a few places up for grabs and one player who is confident of making a comeback is Ajinkya Rahane

Before ICC World Cup 2019,

The 30-year-old has not been named in the limited-overs squad for the upcoming series against Australia after being left out for the limited overs series against England followed by Asia Cup and the recently-concluded series against West Indies.
Therefore one would feel Rahane is unlikely to make a comeback. But the player would beg to differ and is confident of returning to the fold.

According to a report on the ICC’s official website, Rahane feels domestic cricket will help him stage a comeback to the ODIs.

Rahane said, “I am confident of making a comeback and I am confident of playing the World Cup. That is why I played domestic cricket because it helped me and I am sure I will bounce back.”

The middle order batsman also added that, “Sometimes there is a phase where you score a 20 or a 30 and you feel I can get a big one, but your mind goes in the future and things change. It is important to stay in the present.”
Here we analyse the situation of Rahane and his World Cup chances.

ICC World Cup 2019- Selectors don’t prefer Rahane at number 4

He is a pivotal member of Test side but has failed to break into ODI setup completely (Image: The Indian Express)

The senior batsman has been a pivotal member of the Test team, but when it comes to the white ball format, he hasn’t quite been in the scheme of things in recent times.

India won the ODIs against South Africa this year and there was hope that Rahane will continue to be in the mix. But after the ODI series against the Proteas in the rainbow nation, the right-handed batsman was dropped from the squad quite surprisingly.

What didn’t go well for Rahane was that he had an ordinary IPL 2018 and in the one-off Test match against Afghanistan he suffered another failure. That somewhat took the confidence away. And Rahane was then dropped for the series against England with Suresh Raina selected over him.

Ambati Rayudu has now gone on to become the ideal choice and he is definitely going to make it to the World Cup. The versatile Rayudu, who used to bat at a different position when playing alongside Rahane in 2017, has been promoted. His consistency has also been a positive factor. One thing perhaps Rahane would be looking at and feeling is that he required a consistent bout of runs.

Rahane has scored 843 runs in 25 ODI innings while playing at number four position. He also has an average of 36.65 with a strike-rate of 83.71.

ICC World Cup 2019 – How has Rahane fared in ODIs?

Ajinkya Rahane will find it tough as the competition in the batting order is very high (Image: The Indian Express)

Rahane was once a trusted lieutenant in the limited-overs format and was a go to player for the Indian cricket team. Time and time again the Mumbaikar has dished out several top performances. He has played in 90 matches and has shown that he can ably handle pressure situations.

With three hundred at an average of 35.26, Rahane has managed a decent 2,962 runs. He was always a regular member of the side since 2014. He is one of the few players that can construct the innings with the top order and launch an attack on the opponent bowling line-up in the final ten overs as well.

Like Rayudu, the player is also a versatile one and offers the option also of batting as an opener. When you look at some of his ODI heroics, he opened the innings. Last year, Rahane was in supreme form against West Indies and Australia and he opened the batting back then.

That helped him score a ton and 7 fifties in just 10 matches.

Rahane has batted at many positions but his primary slots have been the number 4 or as an opener. Right now both slots are booked.

Since Australia series in 2017, he has been overlooked

Rahane has not been consistent enough (Image:The National)

Rahane was surprisingly left out against New Zealand and Sri Lanka for the ODI series at home post his success against Australia in the 50-over format.

Rahane missed out on both the series and that paid back in a wrong manner. Instead, India got in a trial mode and kept chipping and chopping. One can claim the selectors never got the ideal middle order in ODIs because of the same.

He came back in 2018 and started well against South Africa with a splendid 79. That got Virat to praise the player and he went on to back him. Post that scores of 11, 8, 8 and 34* changed the mindset of the selectors. And from there on things changed.

Rahane was omitted from the ODI series against England and West Indies.

ICC World Cup 2019 – What are the odds for Rahane?

Rahane will need Kohli’s support to get back into the side (Image: Scroll.in)

First things first, Rahane needs to score for India A in their tour of New Zealand. A strong show there can help him prepare for the series against Australia. If he can make it count against the Aussies Down Under in the 4-match Test series which in December, that could keep him be in the radar of the selection committee.

Murali Vijay, who was dropped from the Test squad midway against England, was called back for the series against Australia. So if one gets some solid runs, there is always a chance.

In ICC World Cup 2019

Remember that a team can only field 15 players in the World Cup. And at the moment there are some positions that haven’t been decided upon. A battle for positions will be pretty tight.

One thing can work for Rahane is that he has the experience, and that could help him be strong.

Over time several players like Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Raina and Dinesh Karthik were tried.  Majority of these names failed. For the West Indies series in October, India got in Rishabh Pant and he too couldn’t manage to take his chances.
So things are tricky at the moment and things can change in Australia. A lot depends on how many bowlers India will take to the World Cup event. They need a balance and what bench strength are they looking for is something for the selectors to ponder.

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