Ajinkya Rahane maybe India’s backbone when it comes to batting in the longest format of the sport but he last played ODI more than two years ago. The right-handed batsman has scored 2962 runs from 90 matches at an average of 35.26 of which 843 have come from batting at No. 4 in 27 matches with an average of 36.65. His numbers as ODI opener are even better with 1937 runs from 54 matches including three centuries.
Yet, Rahane was dropped out of the limited-overs format due to a few inconsistent performances after India’s series against South Africa in 2018. Two years later, he is all set to make a comeback in the ODI format.
“I am ready to bat at any position in ODI cricket, whether opening or No. 4 or whatever, I am ready. My instinct answers yes, I want to make a comeback in ODI cricket,” Rahane told former India wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta on ESPNCricinfo. “But when the opportunity will come, we don’t know. Mentally I am preparing to play all the formats. It is all about being positive yourself and about your abilities.”
In 2014, the number four batsman emerged as a makeshift batsman as he replaced Rohit Sharma to open the game, while the latter was recovering from a severe injury. He scored a couple of crucial half-centuries in the Asia Cup and a terrific hundred against England in Edgbaston, in the same year.
The Test-match maestro managed to bag four fifties against Australia, followed by a smashing 79 against South Africa in the first ODI of the six-series match, but later on was shown the door only three scores later. Despite India being in a dire need of a number four batsman ahead of the World Cup, Rahane was still ignored.
“I have enjoyed opening the innings, but I don’t mind batting at number 4 if I am asked to. I have enjoyed both roles,” Rahane explained. “It is very hard to suddenly open the innings and adjust to it after you have been batting at No. 4 for a while, which I had done. It is hard to say which position I prefer. I can do well in both.”
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