Rohit and Shikhar still the pair


India skipper Virat Kohli has declared that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are his team’s preferred opening combination despite a hundred from Ajinkya Rahane against the West Indies.

Rahane has struggled for game time in ODIs recently but with Rohit Sharma rested he has been given an opportunity in the Caribbean and has grabbed it with both hands.

He struck a fifty in the rained off series opener before becoming only the second India opener to score an ODI hundred in the Caribbean after Rahul Dravid.

Rahane laid an excellent platform with his 103 off 104 balls helping India reach an imposing 310 for 5 in their 43 overs with the match reduced by rain.

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Kohli said after the win: “Jinks [Rahane] has great potential at the top of the order, but when Rohit and Shikhar as an opening partnership play well in one-day cricket then that becomes a powerful package for us.

“Jinks is always in there for us as the third opener, and having got the opportunity in this series he has batted really well. Today, the way he paced himself I thought was really, really nice. He was going at a run a ball, never fell behind.”

The skipper would not rule out a return to the India middle-order for the man who some consider to be more suited to Test cricket.

Kohli added: “If he keeps performing like this… he’s someone who has done the middle-order job as well in the past, so he can very well be that floater in the middle order. He’s someone that might allow you to take an extra bowler in a big tournament like a 2019 World Cup. There are very few guys who can open and play in the middle order and Ajinkya is one of them. In future we see him providing more balance to us as a side in terms of taking an extra bowling option maybe on tour.”