During the recent tour of the Caribbean, where Team India played three ODI matches, Shubman Gill was finally given an extended run as an opener along with captain Shikhar Dhawan. He was recognised as the player of the series after finishing with the highest runs – 205 runs in three matches at an average of 102.50. Gill was also unfortunate to miss out on a century in the final match as the weather decided to play spoilsport.
However, KL Rahul’s return to the squad for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe pretty much guarantees him the starting opener slot along with Dhawan. While this may seem harsh on Gill, given his fantastic performances in the Caribbean, former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta argues that the priority is to give Rahul as much batting time as possible to prepare him for the upcoming Asia Cup.
Rahul has been on the sidelines for months following his sports hernia surgery as well as an untimely COVID-19 infection just before the tour of West Indies. He was recently included to the squad to face Zimbabwe and appointed captain after clearing the BCCI medical and fitness test.
“I agree it is difficult after you have had such a good series. But currently, the aim would be to prepare Rahul for the Asia Cup T20’s opening slot. He needs to get a lot of batting time and that’s a priority. I think it will be a short-term arrangement as Shubman I feel is being groomed as an opener for the ODI World Cup,” Dasgupta told PTI.
“While he has done exceedingly well in the Caribbean ODIs, what I can gage from this team’s philosophy is to prepare players for multiple slots. Also, my hunch is that once Rahul has enough game time under his belt, he will once again bat in the middle order, with Gill being prepared for the 2023 event,” the former Indian cricketer further added.
The Indian team touring Zimbabwe will also see new faces in the dugout for a change. VVS Laxman, who had also led the team against Ireland, will be coaching the side with Rahul Dravid being granted a break from work.