'Need to be looked at' - L Sivaramakrishnan backs this player to replace KL Rahul in India's World Cup plans
In stark contrast to his struggling self in Tests and T20Is, KL Rahul has been a figure of great success and dominance in ODIs at No.5. Relishing the role-clarity and assurance of a designated middle-order role, the elegant right-hander has already built a strong body of work for himself.
From the start of 2020, at a minimum of 15 innings, only five players in the world have an average of 50 and beyond at the strenuous No.5 spot in the 50-overs game. The Indian batter is one of them, averaging an eye-catching 56.53 with a strike-rate touching 100. Rahul has played multiple knocks of great influence and quality in this role, helping the side overcome position of strife and boosting their end-overs needs.
KL Rahul's hamstring injury, then, has emerged as a major blow to the side ahead of the 2023 World Cup, leaving the think-tank with a huge headache, accentuated by the injuries to the equally impactful Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.
Rahul has been under a sustained rehab ever since pulling up at the start of May in the Lucknow Super Giants' (LSG) league stage encounter for the IPL 2023 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He missed the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia earlier this month and is unlikely to feature in the playing XI until the Asia Cup 2023.
L Siva wants Sai Sudharsan to replace KL Rahul
The good news for the Indian team is that KL Rahul has picked up steam in his rehab and will resume batting in the nets in the coming weeks, reported the Indian Express. Work put in to regain the lost mojo and rhythm in the nets shall come in handy when Rahul takes the field back for the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Former India spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, however, doesn't think Rahul should be immediately brought back in the line-up and must prove his match fitness by playing some domestic cricket in the build-up to the World Cup.
For the ex cricketer turned commentator, young Tamil Nadu left-hander Sai Sudharsan, who had an impressive campaign for the Gujarat Titans (GT) in IPL 2023, can be a good replacement for the Indian incumbent if he is unable to regain full fitness in time for the quadrennial event.
"He should be made to play domestic cricket to assess his match fitness and batting form," Sivaramakrishnan tweeted. "Getting back into the Indian team should not be so easy, you bat in the nets and ready for international competition."
He should be made to play domestic cricket to assess his match fitness and batting form. Getting back into the Indian team should not be so easy, you bat in the nets and ready for international competition— Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (@LaxmanSivarama1) June 28, 2023
The former cricketer then backed Sudharsan in another post.
People like Sai Sudarshan need to be looked at, Left handed middle order batsman— Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (@LaxmanSivarama1) June 28, 2023
Notably, Sudharsan played a major role for the Titans in their campaign to reach the final of IPL 2023. The talented left-hander made 362 runs in his eight innings of the tournament for ultimate runners-up at a strike-rate of 141.41.