Thursday, June 30, 2022

India ODI squad for SA: Place for 3rd opener slot heating up – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul confirmed, who will be third opener?

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India ODI squad for SA: Who will be third opener? – Newly-appointed ODI skipper Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid and Chetan Sharma-led selection committee will have a selection headache. With just weeks left for the ODI team selection, the committee will have to decide on who will be the third opener besides Rohit, KL Rahul. It is a three-way race for the spot with Shikhar Dhawan fighting for the spot with Ruturaj Gaikwad and Prithvi Shaw. Follow India Tour of South Africa Live Updates on InsideSport.IN.

While Virat Kohli said Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be the preferred opening pair in ODIs with KL Rahul as the backup, it is likely to change. KL Rahul is set to be appointed the next vice-captain, meaning the captain and his deputy will occupy the No 1 and 2 spots. That could essentially close the door on Shikhar Dhawan considering he is 36.

India ODI squad for SA: Place for 3rd opener slot heating up – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul confirmed, who will be third opener?

Also Read: India ODI squad for SA: Ruturaj Gaikwad smashes hat-trick of centuries in Hazare, will selectors pick him for South Africa tour?

Even though it looks like a three-way race, the fact that Ruturaj Gaikwad is in swashbuckling form, creates a selection conundrum. InsideSport takes a look at the candidates vying for the spot.

Shikhar Dhawan lunges to play one onto the off side, India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Colombo, July 18, 2021

Shikhar Dhawan: A year ago, Dhawan was irreplaceable in the ODI team. He was the preferred choice to open with Rohit Sharma. But a year later, he has slowly drifted away from the team. Even though he was named the captain on the Sri Lanka tour, he lost his place in the T20 World Cup squad. The last time a full-strength India team played an ODI series, they had three different combinations for three games.

For Dhawan, he has done everything right in terms of scoring. He scored a ton of runs in the IPL but his rather sluggish approach in the ODIs could be against him in the selection and that could be the end of Shikhar Dhawan in Team India.

Also Read: Virat Kohli Sacked: Coach reveals, ‘Kohli’s phone switched off’, slams Sourav Ganguly & BCCI for ’no transparency’

India ODI squad for SA: Place for 3rd opener slot heating up – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul confirmed, who will be third opener?

Prithvi Shaw made a rapid start, Sri Lanka vs India, 3rd ODI, Colombo, July 23, 2021

Prithvi Shaw: The young Mumbai batman’s graphs have been up and down. Prithvi Shaw‘s record-breaking Vijay Hazare show brought him back to the limelight after being dropped from India team. While he carried on the form in IPL 2021 phase 1 and did decently in Sri Lanka, he faded away in UAE leg of IPL. He scored 171 runs from seven innings after hammering 308 runs in eight in the first leg.

Sent to South Africa with the A squad, he has only scored 48, 42&18 and 5&38 in three four-day matches. He will have a hard time impressing the selectors.

Ruturaj Gaikwad: The other name in the fray is Ruturaj Gaikwad. The young Maharashtra opener has been in form of his life. After setting the stage on fire in IPL 2021, topping the scoring chart and bagging the Orange Cap, he has slammed three consecutive centuries in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Ruturaj Gaikwad goes on a drive, Colombo, July 7, 2021

India ODI squad for SA: Place for 3rd opener slot heating up – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul confirmed, who will be third opener?

IPL 2021: 635 runs in 16 matches @ 45.35
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: 259 runs in 5 matches @ 51.80
Vijay Hazare Trophy: 414 runs in three matches

If form is the only criteria, Ruturaj Gaikwad is miles ahead in the curve. But the decision will be on Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid. Ruturaj was earlier given a chance in Sri Lanka but he failed to grab it while he was benched in the New Zealand T20 series.

India ODI squad for SA: Place for 3rd opener slot heating up – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul confirmed, who will be third opener?

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