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Ajinkya Rahane, Pujara in race to open if Dhawan is finally ruled out

Press Trust of India
Mar 19, 2013 at 06:37pm IST

New Delhi: Travelling with the team for the past 15 months, Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane is finally in line to earn a coveted Test cap as Shikhar Dhawan's knuckle injury might have opened a spot in the Indian batting line-up for the fourth cricket Test against Australia.

While skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had stated that it is unlikely that Dhawan's injury will heal before Friday, the Indian cricket board has not announced any replacement for the injured Delhi lad who scored a brilliant 187 on debut in Mohali. While Rahane looks a straightforward replacement of Dhawan, the Mumbaikar might not open the innings with Murali Vijay as there is a chance to induct him in the middle-order.

If sources are to be believed, Rahane has been earmarked strictly as a middle-order batsman and the team management might just want Cheteshwar Pujara to don the role of a stop-gap opener for the final Test match. The only other option is to name a replacement for Dhawan with Abhinav Mukund being an option. It would be very surprising if one among Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir is recalled on a SOS basis.

Rahane, Pujara in race to open if Dhawan is finally ruled out

Rahane is finally in line to earn a coveted Test cap as Dhawan's knuckle injury might have opened a spot in the Indian batting line-up for the fourth Test.

Dhoni indicated at the post-match presentation that there might be a few changes in the line-up since the series has been won. This might mean that Harbhajan Singh or Ashoke Dinda can replace one of the frontline bowlers. Meanwhile, the the groundsmen at the Feroze Shah Kotla will be watering the pitch till tomorrow as the mercury has been on the rise in the capital.

"Although, we are aware about the necessity of a result oriented pitch, we can't stop watering the pitch. The forecast is that on the first day of the Test match, it will be 34 degree celcius. We can't take the risk of not watering the pitch from now on. Then there will be a risk of having it underprepared," a senior DDCA official said.

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