Perth, Jan 28: Gearing up for a virtual semifinal against England here on Friday, the Indian team will keep a keen eye on the progress of batsman Rohit Sharma, who continues to nurse a sore hamstring.
With two losses and a wash-out, India have their back against the wall in the ongoing ODI tri-series against Australia and England. (Rohit likely to miss WC warm-up games)
Rohit's injury has affected the batting order a bit with Ajinkya Rahane not finding time to settle at number three, the new strategy when Rohit opens with Shikhar Dhawan. (WC fixtures)
Ambati Rayudu has been batting at three with Rahane opening the innings then, and the Hyderabad batsman has been all at sea so far. The latest information from the Indian team regarding Rohit is that while his injury is not threatening his World Cup participation, he is building back slowly to full fitness.
The batsman had a net session in Sydney while India took on Australia in the rain-curtailed game on Monday and could be available as soon as Friday. However it remains to be seen if he will be straight-away thrown into the deep end, considering that Dhawan has been struggling for runs.
The problem herein for the team management is that both Rohit and Rahane can open the innings as well as bat lower down the order as per the situation demands.
Dhawan has only been known to open the innings throughout his career and has been given quite a free run at the top of the order ever since the Men in Blue started preparing for this upcoming World Cup.
Dhawan enjoyed a brilliant outing in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England, scoring back-to-back hundreds that helped him accumulate 363 runs in just five matches at an average of 90.75.
He won the man-of-the-tournament award back then, but ever since it has been downhill. If the tour to Zimbabwe in mid-2013 is taken out, then, in 17 ODI innings in West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia, he has scored only 386 runs at an average 24.12.
In this interim, he has only scored two half-centuries against proper opposition (ignoring the hundred scored in Zimbabwe again), one in Port of Spain in July 2013 and the other in Birmingham on the English tour, the two knocks separated by more than a year.