As Team India took on Sri Lanka in the second match of the T20 series yesterday, the Indian cricketing fandom had all their eyes on the return of Shikhar Dhawan. Following an injury back in 2019, the opener was out of the squad for quite some time, and the fans expected a stormy innings on his come back game. However, the attention Dhawan had was totally overwhelmed by none other than his opening partner KL Rahul, who stole the show with his blistering knock in the beginning of the chase. In fact, the latest praise comes straight from India’s former opener Gautam Gambhir himself.
At the Holkar Stadium in Indore yesterday, India began the 143 target chase with a marvellous spell from Rahul. The 27 year old scored 45 runs from 32 balls, along with hitting 6 boundaries. The superstar Kannadiga put up a decisive 71 runs partnership with Dhawan, who had 32 off 29 to his name.
Speaking after India’s win, Gambhir expressed his appreciation for Rahul in limited overs cricket, but also wondered why he hasn’t clicked that well in the red ball format: “Rahul is in unbelievable form. It amazes me every time I see Rahul bat that why didn’t he play the same way in Test cricket,”
While the Kings XI Punjab squad member has an astounding batting average of 43.81 and 42.33 in the T20 and ODI formats respectively, a comparatively mediocre average of 34.58 has left Gambhir wondering.
“It’s not about only white-ball cricket; it is about Test cricket too. He just got into a shell too much. With the kind of quality he possesses, he is someone who can get you a 50-ball 100 in Test cricket as well. The kind of shots he has is superb,” he told the host broadcasters.
Dhawan, who has showed amazing consistency in the Indian Premier League, scored 521 runs in the 2019 season with Delhi Capitals. However, Gambhir feels his fellow Delhite is losing the pace against Rahul.
He continued: “You can’t compare IPL to international cricket. When you’re playing for Delhi Capitals, you know there’s no one waiting for the opportunity, but when you’re playing for the country and you know there’s someone who’s actually can replace you, there’ll always be pressure. And today it was shown who’s in better form.”
As the year of 2020 will see the next edition of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup after a gap of 3 years, its a battle between Dhawan and Rahul to secure the second opener spot alongside Team India’s first opening choice, the legendary Rohit Sharma.