4 openers, 2 slots, Who will KL Rahul pick to open in IND vs AUS 1st ODI?
With Asian Games and World Cup both approaching, Rahul Dravid will have to give players game time and that is where Ruturaj Gaikwad could be an opening option.
KL Rahul will return to lead India in the first two India vs Australia ODIs. But with the IND vs AUS 1st ODI set to be played in Mohali on September 22, Rahul has a decision to take regarding the opening combination of the Men in Blue. India has four opening batters: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and the skipper Rahul himself.
Who would open? Will India change the combination for the sake of Asian Games? These are the questions that the captain and head coach must answer.
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IND vs AUS: Continue with Kishan-Gill?
With Rohit Sharma missing in the first two matches, Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill look as the best combination. Ishan-Gill opened the innings in the final match of the Asia Cup as they completed an easy chase of 51 runs. The Indian camp will also be tempted to go with Kishan and Gill as they will want to negate the Mitchell Starc effect in IND vs AUS 1st ODI.
Should Gaikwad open?
But Ruturaj Gaikwad is likely to open in the Asian Games. With limited game time for him, he can be another option in the opening combination. However, of late, he has only been deployed as No 3. To note, Gaikwad also played as a No 3 batter in his last 50-over outing against the West Indies.
However, Gaikwad opened the proceedings for the Men in Blue during his recent outing for India against Ireland in August. Gaikwad does not have much to show in his ODI career for now, the 26-year-old has played just two matches and has managed to score 27 runs at an average of 13.5.
Rahul to continue in middle-order?
Meanwhile, skipper Rahul might continue to bat in the middle-order and won’t be an opening option in IND vs AUS 1st ODI. He will keep the wickets for India which might also give him a good idea to marshal his troops on the field. The only question arises if Rahul will bat at the No 4 or 5th spot. The likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma and Shreyas Iyer have also been added in the Indian squad and Indian camp will be tempted to try one of the mentioned players in the middle-order in IND vs AUS 1st ODI.
India squad for 1st & 2nd ODIs
KL Rahul (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna