India and Australia are will start the limited overs series with the first ODI at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai this Sunday. In what comes as a huge blow for team India, the opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to keep him out of the first 3 ODIs.
His wife is unwell and the left-hander wishes to be with her. He had to fly back from Sri Lanka in the previous tour as well to be with her ailing mother. The Board has accepted the request of the 31-year-old but it has decided not to name any replacement and the selection will now take place from the 15-man squad.
“Team India opener Mr. Shikhar Dhawan has requested to be released from the team for the first three ODIs of the Paytm Australia tour of India, 2017 to attend to his wife, who is unwell. The All-India Senior Selection Committee has decided not to name any replacement for Mr. Dhawan in Indian Cricket Team,” a BCCI media release stated.
Chance for Rahul or Rahane
In Shikhar Dhawan’s absence, the reserve opener Ajinkya Rahane might open the innings alongside Rohit Sharma. Rahane had performed brilliantly in the Caribbean tour where he finished as the leading run-getter of the ODI series and also won the Man of the Series award. But as Rohit returned for the Sri Lanka tour, Rahane was made to sit out as the regular combination of Dhawan-Rohit took the field.
KL Rahul, who has managed to hold on to his spot despite a poor run on the Sri Lanka tour, might also be seen as a potential opener. He batted in the middle-order and could score just 28 runs from 3 matches while Manish Pandey played 2 decent knocks while batting at No.4 and could well have cemented his spot. Rahul, if gets a chance to open, needs to score big otherwise his place in the squad could be in danger for the upcoming series.