Cricket

India vs South Africa: Rahul hints at opening alongside Dhawan in ODIs, utilising Venkatesh's bowling skills

Paarl, South Africa: India skipper KL Rahul on Tuesday hinted that all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer is likely to be groomed as the additional pace bowling option that the team has lacked ever since Hardik Pandya's back injury while declaring that he will open alongside veteran Shikhar Dhawan in the first ODI against South Africa in Paarl.

Rahul's media interaction was a clear indication that Ruturaj Gaikwad might have to wait for his turn and the pitch at Boland Park might prompt the team management to play both specialist spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.

"In the past 12-15 months, I have batted in various positions because that is what the team needed of me then and now with Rohit (Sharma) not being there, I will bat at the top of the order," the skipper informed ahead of the opening game.

File image of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. AFP

File image of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. AFP

We are looking to develop Venkatesh as sixth bowling option

A sixth bowler, preferably seam or pace option, has been India's major headache for past two-and-half years due to Pandya's injury and now the team management is "excited" looking at what Venkatesh brings to the table with his multiple skill-sets.

"Yes, Venkatesh Iyer has been very exciting since the time he has played for KKR in the IPL and then he joined us for the T20 series against New Zealand and he did well," Raul said.

"Yes, fast bowling all-rounders are always an asset and we are always looking for fast bowling all-rounders as they balance the team out. It's a great opportunity for Venkatesh as he is looking good in the nets," the skipper added.

He made it clear that in coming days, the lanky MP man would be bowling a lot in white-ball games.

"We are trying to develop Venkatesh (as the sixth bowling option) and we will give him that chance. He has done decently and he gives us that option as the sixth bowler."

Want Shikhar to remain in good head space

Shikhar Dhawan currently plays only ODIs and it becomes difficult not to question his place in the side after a few failures but the stand-in captain wants the senior pro to remain in a good head space and play like only he can, by dominating the bowlers.

"He is a senior and experienced player and understands what is expected out of him. He is in a great space and has come out here and having fun, enjoying his cricket

"...and I mean yeah as a captain, it will be about trying to keep him in that space and give him that confidence to go out there and do what he has been doing and just to enjoy his cricket and giving Team India the starts that he has done," Rahul was all praise for the oldest playing member of the touring party.

At a personal level, Rahul loves Dhawan's approach towards batting.

"I have personally been someone, who has enjoyed seeing Shikhar play in ODIs and how he takes down bowlers. and I just want him to continue doing what he has been doing," he said.

Might play both Ashwin and Chahal in first two games

India have practised for two days and it seems that the track at the Boland Park will assist spinners more than the ones they they got during the Test series at the Centurion, Wanderers and Newlands.

Rahul wants to pick both spinners during the first two games.

"We have quality spinners and Ashwin is coming back into the ODI team, and we all know what quality he brings in," he said.

"Chahal has been doing it for years now and been a great performer for us for years now and it's been great and hopefully we can exploit that in the first two games, since the pitch looks like it will offer bit of spin so they both become very important."

Read all the Latest NewsTrending NewsCricket NewsBollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Updated Date: January 18, 2022 20:07:26 IST

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

IPL 2022: KL Rahul departs on a diamond duck against KKR after superb direct hit from Shreyas Iyer
First Cricket News

IPL 2022: KL Rahul departs on a diamond duck against KKR after superb direct hit from Shreyas Iyer

Lucknow Super Giants captain KL Rahul was dismissed on a rare diamond duck in an Indian Premier League match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Saturday.

IPL 2022: KL Rahul in focus as Lucknow Super Giants take on Kolkata Knight Riders
First Cricket News

IPL 2022: KL Rahul in focus as Lucknow Super Giants take on Kolkata Knight Riders

A positive result against LSG will help KKR stay afloat in the IPL 2022 playoffs race.

Slotting KL Rahul in middle order could sort out India's Powerplay woes before T20 World Cup, say experts
First Cricket News

Slotting KL Rahul in middle order could sort out India's Powerplay woes before T20 World Cup, say experts

Rohit, Rahul and Virat will be indispensable in the Indian team during the World Cup in Australia but a change in their batting order may be considered for the benefit of the side, say experts.