When the BCCI announced, through a media advisory, the full squad for India’s tour of Australia in October, Rohit Sharma’s name was missing from the three squads, which raised eyebrows. At the time of the squad announcement, Sharma was benched due to a hamstring injury sustained during the 2020 IPL. BCCI announced that Sharma’s progress was being monitored by BCCI’s medical team. However, eyebrows were raised once again when Sharma was included in the Test squad but not in the One-Day squads for the Australian tour. Now with Sharma’s absence from the white-ball squad, India will have a new batsmen pair up with Shikhar Dhawan at the top.
Southpaw KL Rahul lit up this year’s IPL with some amazing performances. Leading the batting charts with 670 runs at an average of 55.83 with 5 fifties and 1 hundred in this IPL, Rahul seems to be the perfect man to open with Dhawan. However, in the 40-over intra-squad warm-up match that took place between Virat Kohli led CK Nayudu XI and Rahul led Ranjitsinhji XI in Sydney on Sunday, Rahul did not open the batting for his team. Instead it was Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal who opened the batting with Rahul batting at either 3 or 4. Rahul led his team in scoring as he smashed 83 runs off 66 balls.
In the 32 ODIs he has played, Rahul averages 47.65 at a strike rate of 87.07 with 7 fifties and 4 hundreds. In the 41 T20s, Rahul averages 45.66 at a strike rate 146.1 with 11 fifties and 2 hundreds, making him one of India’s most elite batsmen to have a hundred in all forms of the game. Partnering with Dhawan who has impressive strike rate in ODIs of 94.02, will definitely give India a good aggressive start when the Men in Blue step out to bat.
For the first time in his career, Rahul was also named India’s vice-captain for the One-Day squads. While debuting as captain for Kings XI Punjab this year, Rahul showed that captaincy did not really affect his batting and instead, was thriving at the opportunity bestowed upon him by the franchise. Rahul’s cool and calm approach to batting makes him quite a dangerous player. Rahul will be one of the players to watch out for when India takes on Australia in the first ODI on November 27.