Former India player turned famous commentator Aakash Chopra said that young and talented Ruturaj Gaikwad should be in the selectors’ radars for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa. However, the young batsman has been going through a purple patch with the bat, with 603 runs to his name in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy and he is also the leading run-scorer as well.
While Maharashtra couldn’t make it to the knockout stages, he made headlines but he couldn’t add more runs to his tally. Gaikwad’s 603 runs came at a great strike rate of 112.92. He scored 51 fours and 19 sixes during the league phase and, the veteran stated that Ruturaj Gaikwad has done enough to be in the Indian team.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra shared his views on Ruturaj Gaikwad’s performance. He said: “The first name, the name at the top is Ruturaj Gaikwad. I mean he has hit four centuries, at one point he had hit three hundreds in three matches and no one was able to get him out. I saw some of his innings. It seemed like he was playing against kids.”
Ruturaj Gaikwad has played two T20Is against Sri Lanka in July this year. But he is yet to make his debut in the ODI format and may get selected in the ODI team for the South Africa tour as well.
Aakash Chopra again shared: “He was only playing the sweep shots against the fast bowlers, who does that? Inside out fours against the spinners. Bowlers were bowling alright but Ruturaj actually looked in a different league altogether. He made 603 runs at an average of 150 and a strike rate of nearly 113. There are four centuries in that, the recent scores are 168, 21, 124, 154* and 136. It actually felt that the guy is ready for the Indian team.”
“Of course, whether you select him or not because he is a top-order batter and there is no place there at times and it might not be there now also. Let’s be honest, there is Rohit Sharma, there is KL Rahul and there is Shikhar Dhawan – who should be there. But it’s absolutely impossible that his name will not be discussed,” he again shared.
However, alongside Gaikwad, Aakash Chopra also feels Venkatesh Iyer is likely to be a part of the ODI team for the South Africa tour as well. He has also been in a sublime form that started in the second leg of IPL 2021. He has already made his T20I debut, and knocking on the door of the ODI squad as well after his stunning show in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
He said: “His name is doing the rounds and it is because the guy is doing well. The last twelve months have been like the guy is dreaming with open eyes, whether it was half the IPL, after that his debut for the Indian team and then such a performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. His name is Venkatesh Iyer. He has made 349 runs at an average of 70, a strike rate of 140. The good thing is that he has scored runs while batting down the order because the place is available there only.”
Aakash Chopra said that Venkatesh Iyer has scored big despite batting in the middle order. And, he got the opportunity in the absence of veteran all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
“He was played down the order only in the Indian team in the T20Is and here also he has been batting down the order for Madhya Pradesh. He has hit two centuries – 151 and 112 along with a 71. Of course, all cannot be centuries as he did not bat in the top order.”
“If Hardik Pandya is not available when we make the team for South Africa, he has already said that he doesn’t want to play till he is 100% fit, then his [Iyer’s] name can come. He has taken wickets as well in a high-scoring Vijay Hazare Trophy. I won’t be surprised at all if his name is there for the South Africa tour,” Aakash Chopra concluded.