In the third ODI, Indian star Virat Kohli scored an exquisite 154 runs to steer the team to a 7-wicket win against New Zealand. It is good that the batsman is in a great form. But, it is not good as he is shouldering the burden of the entire team. One of the biggest reasons for this burden is the failure of openers, chiefly Ajinkya Rahane.
Ajinkya Rahane is arguably India’s best bet in Test matches. But, he has not been as successful in ODIs. In Test matches, Ajinkya Rahane has a massive average of over 51 runs. In ODIs, his average is a dismal 32.71. In Test matches, Ajinkya Rahane has hit 10 centuries, whereas in ODIs, he has hit only 2 centuries in 70 matches. In the ongoing series against New Zealand, Ajinkya Rahane’s performance has not been as expected. In the first three matches, Ajinkya Rahane has made only 33, 28 and 5 runs.
Virat Kohli on the other hand has made 85*, 9 and 154* in the three innings he played in the series. India lost the second match in which Virat departed early. If we have a look at Virat Kohli’s performance in the last 8 ODIs, the numbers are surprising. Kohli has contributed 91, 59, 117 , 106 and 8 against Australia. In the ongoing series, he has scored 85*(81), 9(13) and 154*(134) against New Zealand. Overall, he averages 104.83 with 629 runs in just 8 games.
These numbers are huge. But, no other batsman has been supporting him, especially the top order. Ajinkya Rahane, who performed exceedingly well in Test matches against New Zealand, failed to repeat the performance in ODIs. In the Dharamsala match, Rahane had played some exquisite shots in his innings of 33 runs. But, just being a good batsman won’t do. Rahane will have to share the responsibility of the team with Virat Kohli.
India have just 5 ODI matches before Champions Trophy next year. Ajinkya Rahane will have to find his form in these matches. Else, India will have it real difficult in the multi-nation tournament.