Ajinkya Rahane waiting to confirm ODI berth

With Dhawan out for first 3 matches, Mumbai batsman prepares for Aus series with aim to be regular in limited-overs team

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Ajinkya Rahane waiting to confirm ODI berth
Australian cricketers at a training session in Chennai on Thursday, ahead of the ODI series against India starting on Sunday. (left) India’s Ajinkya Rahane (right) is all ears to Sachin Tendulkar while his coach Pravin Amre looks on at a practice session in MumbaiTwitter/@ajinkyarahane88


Ajinkya Rahane gets to play ODIs these days when an injury to any of the regular openers — Shikhar Dhawan or Rohit Sharma — keeps them out. Or, if they are unavailable for other reasons.

When Rohit Sharma was rested for the West Indies tour soon after the Champions Trophy, Rahane was assured that he would open in all the five ODIs and came up with impressive knocks of three fifties, one century and a lowest score of 36 for his first man of the series award.

The29-year-old right-hander again got to play an ODI in the fifth game in Sri Lanka, when Dhawan had to leave the tour to attend to his ailing mother.

Another opportunity to play in at least the first three ODIs came the Mumbai right-hander's way when Dhawan was, on Thursday, released from the Indian squad for the three ODIs against Australia in Chennai (Sep 17), Kolkata (Sep 21) and Indore (Sep 24).

Dhawan has requested to be released from the 16-member squad for the first three ODIs to attend to his wife who is unwell, said the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Thursday.

Rahane is leaving no stone unturned in his preparation for the upcoming series. He has been working on his game specific for the ODI format, Australia to be followed by New Zealand, with his personal coach and former India batsman Praveen Amre at the Mumbai Cricket Association's indoor academy in Bandra-Kurla Complex the last four days.

Amre is pleased with the work put in by his ward and is confident of a good show. After a session with Rahane, Amre told DNA on Thursday: "I am happy with the preparation. Sachin (Tendulkar) also gave some inputs. It was nice of him to come and advice. I'm pretty confident the way Ajinkya has prepared for the series."

The two may have been working together for the last seven years, specific to the format. It was the same this time around too.

Amre said: "What I observed was that one ODI series ago, he was man of the series in West Indies. He has been in good form in Tests too with a hundred in the Colombo Test. So, Ajinkya is absolutely in good form, he is in the scheme of things and he is taking it positively. I'm looking forward to his performance in the home ODI series against Australia."

Asked if there was anything specific that the two worked on, Amre, who has also worked with Rahane during his stint as a successful Ranji Trophy coach for Mumbai, said: "It is all about constantly improving on one's game. We have back-to-back ODI series against Australia and New Zealand. There is always room to improvement.

"We have been doing the same things for the last seven years. Whatever the format, my job is to get him in good frame of mind."

Asked what more should Rahane be doing to be a certainty in the starting 11 even when the regulars are around, Amre said: "This healthy competition is a good thing for Team India. You talk about Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane for the openers' slot in ODIs. Team India is also doing good in all formats.

"Rahane has to raise his own bar, the same hunger has to be there and we are working on it. He is one of the few Indians who can fit in all the three formats. That is the challenge for any cricketer," said the 49-year-old who is one of the few Indians to score a century on Test debut way back in 1992-93.

The BCCI has not named a replacement for Dhawan. The Indian players have begun to assemble in Chennai on Thursday.

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