Ruturaj Gaikwad

ZIM vs IND : Ruturaj Gaikwad Expresses On Filling Virat Kohli’s Void In T20Is

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After being dismissed for just seven runs, Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed an unbeaten 77 in the second match against Zimbabwe batting at Virat Kohli’s usual position. With the India-Zimbabwe five-match T20I series kicking off last Saturday in Harare, where the visitors managed to level the contest with a win in the second game by 100 runs, Ruturaj Gaikwad became the first player to audition for Kohli’s usual batting role.

While Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed for just seven runs in nine games in the series opener, where India incurred a shocking 13-run loss, he bounced back in the second game to smash an unbeaten 77 off 47, lacing eleven boundaries and one maximum. Unlike his current role in the Indian line-up for the Zimbabwe series, Ruturaj Gaikwad predominantly plays in the opening position in T20 cricket. However, he is happy to contribute in whatever position the team requires him to bat.

BCCI looking to built on a new generation for 2026 T20 WC post Virat Kohli’s retirement

Virat Kohli may have won India the 2024 T20 World Cup title as an opener, but for the larger part of his glorious career in the shortest format, he was always identified as a No. 3 batter. With the former India captain now having retired from T20Is, the selectors and the team management will keep an eye on getting the best possible replacement for Kohli as the team begins their build-up to the 2026 edition of the T20 World Cup.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja announced their retirement from the T20I setup after winning the T20 World Cup in June which has opened the doors for the next generation of players to vie for those positions. Ruturaj Gaikwad, the Chennai Super Kings skipper has batted at No. 3 position for India in the first two T20Is against Zimbabwe but he said he has no preference and will bat wherever the team requires him.

Ruturaj Gaikwad expresses on filling Virat Kohli’s void in T20Is

Team India batter Ruturaj Gaikwad dismissed comparisons and talks of filling the legendary Virat Kohli’s void in T20Is ahead of the third T20I against Zimbabwe. Following India’s incredible triumph in the recently concluded T20 World Cup, Kohli announced his retirement from T20Is.

The champion batter finished as the second-leading scorer in T20Is with 4,188 runs in 125 outings. Meanwhile, Gaikwad has played 21 T20I games for India with an impressive average of 38.93 and a strike rate of 141.40. The stylish right-hander batted at No.3, a position Kohli made his own, for India in the first two T20Is against Zimbabwe. Talking to the reporters on the eve of the third encounter, Gaikwad responded to the Kohli comparisons by saying:

“This is a big topic and I think it’s not the right point to think about it. To even compare with him (Kohli) or try to fill in his shoes is relatively very tough and very hard. Definitely, you want to start your career, you want to start the way you want, you want to play your own game. So that’s the priority right now.”

Team India suffered a shocking defeat in the series opener against Zimbabwe, failing to chase a paltry 116. However, they rebounded strongly, thanks to Gaikwad’s 47-ball 77* and Abhishek Sharma’s maiden T20I century to level the series with a 100-run victory.

“Wherever the team wants, I will bat there” – Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad noted that there wasn’t much difference between opening the batting and slotting in at No.3. The 27-year-old has made the opening slot his own for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL.

However, for team balance, Ruturaj Gaikwad has moved to one drop in the ongoing Zimbabwe series despite opening for India in his previous 17 T20 innings.

“Wherever the team wants me to bat, I will bat there. There is no problem. There is not much difference between the opening and the No. 3, because you have to play against the new ball. So there is not much difference,” said Gaikwad.

He added:

“Focus on one game, focus on how you can contribute towards the team in whichever position you play and make sure you are on the winning side more often than not.”

India have opened the batting with skipper Shubman Gill and left-hander Abhishek Sharma in the ongoing Zimbabwe series. The crucial third T20I to break the 1-1 deadlock will be played at Harare on Wednesday, July 10. It is yet to be seen whether Ruturaj, even after his stunning knock in the second game, will be retained for the third match with the arrival of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube, who were all rested for the opening two matches after being part of the T20 World Cup campaign.

Also Read: IND vs ENG: “Side Arm Specialists In India Need To Work Hard To Prepare Batters For Tough Times”- Abhishek Jain Gives His Invaluable Insights

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