Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir is not in favour of KL Rahul keeping wickets in ODIs. The former opener believes Rahul is a valuable asset and should not be burdened with the job of wicket-keeping in ODIs. Gambhir also opined that it was not a great idea to tinker with KL Rahul’s batting position and opening is best suited for the stylish right-hander.
India on Wednesday, handed debut to Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal in the first ODI against New Zealand at Hamilton after Rohit Sharma was ruled out with a calf injury. Agarwal and Shaw opened the batting, becoming the fourth opening pair for India to have made their debut in the same ODI.
“I am not sure if it is a great idea to remove KL Rahul from the top of the order. If anything India could have gone with a Rahul-Agarwal opening combination,” Gambhir wrote in his column for The Times of India.
India skipper Virat Kohli mentioned on the eve of the first ODI against New Zealand that Rahul will continue to keep wickets and bat at No.5 for India in ODIs.
“… Could have Rishabh Rahul keep wickets, Rahul is a valuable asset and should be well looked after. Yes, he has done some good work behind the stumps in the games that he has kept. But I am not sure he should be expected to keep in the 50-over format,” Gambhir said.
“The bigger picture is that India are in a commanding position. These phases in sports can prompt some audacious moves. More often than not the sporting luck favours the brave in such situation. Kohli has his work cut out in the absence of Rohit. He will have to present his ‘A’ game if India are to challenge the hosts. Let us all go easy on young Prithvi. He is making a comeback. The word from the Mumbai maidans hasn’t been encouraging but we can do well to give some space to him,” Gambhir said.
Meanwhile, India put on 347 for 4 after being sent in to bat first. Shreyas Iyer scored his maiden ODI hundred and KL Rahul made a strokefull 88 off 64 balls.