Shubman Gill (Credits: Twitter)
Shubman Gill (Credits: Twitter)

Deep Dasgupta, the former Team India keeper-batter reckons that Shubman Gill is being groomed as an opener for the ODI World Cup, which will be held in India in 2023. He, however, opined that KL Rahul should open the innings in Zimbabwe since the priority right now is to give him as much batting as possible ahead of the Asia Cup.

The ODI series in Zimbabwe, which begins on August 18, will mark KL Rahul’s return to international cricket after a long hiatus due to injury and Covid-19. He last played for India back in February, during the home series against the West Indies. He hasn’t played any competitive cricket since IPL 2022.

Shubman Gill had a fantastic one-day series in the West Indies. Pic: Twitter
Shubman Gill had a fantastic one-day series in the West Indies. Pic: Twitter

Deep Dasgupta: The Aim Would Be To Prepare KL Rahul As Opener For Asia Cup And Shubman Gill For ODI World Cup

Initially, KL Rahul was not part of the Zimbabwe tour. However, he was added to the squad and was even named captain after being declared fit. The right-handed batter’s return puts the Indian think tank in a dilemma.

Deep Dasgupta
Deep Dasgupta. (Photo Source: Instagram)

Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan were a formidable opening pair in the ODI against the Windies. Deep Dasgupta however backed KL Rahul to open ahead of Shubman Gill.

He explained: “I agree it is difficult after you have had such a good series. But currently, the aim would be to prepare Rahul for the Asia Cup T20’s opening slot. He needs to get a lot of batting time and that’s a priority. I think it will be a short-term arrangement as Shubman I feel is being groomed as an opener for the ODI World Cup.”

Shubman Gill was the Player of the Series as India thumped West Indies 3-0 in the ODIs. The 22-year-old registered scores of 64, 43, and 98 not out.

Devang Gandhi Opines Shubman Gill Might Bat At No. 3 In Zimbabwe Tour

Former national selector and Test opener Devang Gandhi also shared similar views to Dasgupta. According to him, Shubman Gill will bat at No. 3 against Zimbabwe.

Elaborating on his views, he said: “I think Shubman is being groomed in the right way by the Indian team management. While he has done exceedingly well in the Caribbean ODIs, what I can gage from this team’s philosophy is to prepare players for multiple slots. Hence, I feel for this particular series, Shubman might have to come in at No. 3.”

Devang Gandhi
Devang Gandhi

He added that No. 3 is also a proper top-order slot and Shubman Gill will come in early if a wicket falls at the start of the innings.

Gandhi commented: “He might have to come in as early as the second ball of the innings and that is as good as opening the batting. Also, my hunch is that once Rahul has enough game time under his belt, he will once again bat in the middle order, with Gill being prepared for the 2023 event.”

While KL Rahul will be leading the team against Zimbabwe, VVS Laxman has been appointed as an acting coach. Head coach Rahul Dravid will be with the first-choice team for the Asia Cup, which begins in the UAE on August 27.

Initially, Shikhar Dhawan was announced as Team India’s skipper for the Zimbabwe tour. However, KL Rahul, who was a last-minute addition to the squad, replaced Shikhar Dhawan as the captain a few days after the squad announcement.

Shubman Gill recently opened the innings for Team India during the three-match ODI series against West Indies and played a key role in the 3-0 series win. He finished the series as the highest run-scorer and was adjudged the Player of the Series.

But despite the runs tally, he has been facing criticism for not scoring those runs at a quicker pace. Shubman Gill finished with 205 runs at a strike rate of just over 100. He even faced criticism after scoring a career-best 98 not out in the third and final ODI.