Will KL Rahul open 1st ODI: KL Rahul’s batting position revealed ahead of IND vs SA Paarl ODI

Will KL Rahul open 1st ODI: The substitute India captain has revealed his preferred batting position in the impending ODI series.

The Indian cricket team’s soft corner for fast bowling all-rounders will get another addition with the potential ODI debut of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer in South Africa’s first ever ODI v India in Paarl tomorrow.

“Yes, Venkatesh Iyer has been very exciting since he played for KKR and did very well there and he joined us for the T20I series against New Zealand,” India’s ODI captain said. Lokesh Rahul to reporters during a virtual press conference on the eve of the first ODI.

“He did very well there, the versatile fast bowlers are always an asset. We are always looking for versatile fast bowlers. They balance the team very well. It’s a great opportunity for him to do well in South Africa.

Iyer, who gained popularity representing the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 Indian Premier League, returns after thriving for Madhya Pradesh in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy after making his T20I debut against New Zealand.

Iyer was the tournament’s fifth-leading scorer with 379 runs with an average and strike rate of 63.16 and 133.92 respectively over six innings.

Will KL Rahul open 1st ODI against South Africa?

Rahul, who has struck at the No.1 to No.6 positions during his 38-game ODI career, has been used primarily as a mid-level wicketkeeper striker for the past two years.

Since the start of 2020, Rahul’s 554 in 10 innings in the middle order have averaged and hit rate at 69.25 and 109.92 respectively with the help of two centuries and four half centuries. During the same period, Rahul is the second highest scorer in ODI after Irishman Harry Tector (670 runs in 20 innings at 41.87) among mid-level hitters.

While regular whiteball captain Rohit Sharma missed this series with a hamstring injury, Rahul all but confirmed he was opening batting with veteran batsman Shikhar Dhawan on Wednesday. Readers should note that Rahul and Dhawan have only opened the baton together twice in ODIs in the past.

“Yeah, in the last 14-15 months I hit number four-five, different positions and you know that’s what the team needed from me. Now with Rohit [Sharma] not being here, I would strike at the top of the order,” Rahul said.

While India‘s 19-member ODI squad also includes uncapped in-form batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad, it looks like the 24-year-old will have to wait for an opportunity to make his ODI debut.

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