'Gaikwad's name might not be there for World Cup' - former India player names young batter for Asian Games instead
The young Maharashtra and Chennai Super Kings opener is on a comeback trail in the Indian One-Day out for the trip to the Caribbean and is a shoo-in for the T20I side.
With India confirming the participation of an alternate men's squad in the Asian Games T20I event to be played in Hangzhou, China in September-October, there is a great sense of excitement for the fans, especially about who among the aspiring young Indian hopefuls will make the cut.
The BCCI has already made it clear that only the T20I specialists free of 2023 World Cup preparations and duties will be playing in the regional tournament on Chinese shores between September 23 to October 8, with the event overlapping the start of the 50-overs World Cup from October 5.
It would mean the selectors will have to cast the net wider in terms of options, for a number of India's T20I picks also ply their trade in the longer version and will be key to the World Cup campaign. Few of the two-format white-ball players, however, might miss out on the chance to represent the country at the biggest cricket event of their careers and could be sent instead to China for the Asian Games.
For former India player turned commentator Aakash Chopra, one of the players who could be boarding the flight to Hangzhou and might not stay put in India for the World Cup is the highly talented Ruturaj Gaikwad, part of India's squad for the ODIs scheduled in the Caribbean but missing for now in the T20I side for the West Indies challenge.
Chopra foresees Gaikwad missing World Cup, playing Asian Games instead
But the consistent Chennai Super Kings (CSK) match-winner in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is touted for a late return to the T20I outfit for the subsequent assignment of the in-transition Indian side in Ireland in the middle of August. Strong performances there can finally uplift Gaikwad in the T20I scheme of things and embolden his overall limited-overs stocks.
Chopra, however, foresees Gaikwad missing out from the 50-overs outfit for the 2023 World Cup with the decision-making potentially preferring wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan for the balance and flexibility he brings to the table at his best, especially with the incumbent Rishabh Pant sidelined with a horrific accident.
"I am starting with Ruturaj Gaikwad. I feel Ruturaj Gaikwad's name might not be there for the World Cup. Already Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma are there and then Ishan Kishan is there as an opener. Then Shreyas Iyer comes and then you have Virat Kohli. So there I feel a place might not get opened up," Chopra said while picking his own Asian Games Indian T20I side in a video on his YouTube channel.
"So I am going with Ruturaj Gaikwad as an opener. He hasn't got too many opportunities. For some reason, he is not considered as your T20 batter. The second player I have picked is Yashasvi Jaiswal. Once again his career is just starting and he has not been even close to the ODI side for the last two-three years," he added.
Contrary to the word in the reports, Chopra refused to nod on comeback of out-of-favour veteran Shikhar Dhawan in the T20I side and said the selectors must trust the youth to clinch the Asian Games gold. He also preferred Tilak Verma instead of Sai Sudharsan while bringing Rinku Singh in the plans and made left-field suggestions to include Shivam Dube, Nitish Rana and Jitesh Sharma in the China-bound contingent.