Saba Karim has recently shared why KL Rahul didn’t open the batting in the first ODI between India and Zimbabwe. They fielded Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan as their openers in the first game on Thursday, August 18 and they chased down the 190-run target without losing a wicket. And, Rahul, who was slated to bat at No. 4, did not get the chance in the middle.
During an interaction on the Sports 18 show ‘Sports Over the Top, Karim said: “Logically yes, but I think couple of reasons why KL Rahul held himself back. Number one – they didn’t want to break a successful opening partnership that has formed recently between Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan. They wanted to continue with that. Secondly, the way the Indian team management has perceived KL Rahul’s position in the ODI setup is in the middle order, either it can be at No. 4 or No. 5. I feel it was for these reasons that Rahul has decided to bat lower down the order.”
Team India have tasted a successful opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Dhawan in ODI cricket. They are likely to continue with that pair at least until the ODI World Cup next year and are therefore looking to bat KL Rahul in the middle order as well.
Meanwhile, Rohan Gavaskar was also asked if Rahul might open in the second ODI. He said: “It would depend on whether they are batting first or second. If you are batting first, then I think you might still see him bat at maybe No. 3 or No. 4, and as Saba said keep that opening partnership of Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan at the top. They have been outstanding, in a short span they have had three century partnerships. If you are batting second and if it’s a low target, then you might see KL Rahul open because he needs game time, he needs to spend some time in the middle in a match environment.”