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Youngsters Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer in Fray for South Africa ODIs As Shikhar Dhawan’s Form Dips

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer are front runners to replace Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya when India tour South Africa.

Shikhar Dhawan’s poor run of form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy would keep the selectors worried but young turks Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer seems to have all but booked their tickets for the upcoming away three-match ODI series against South Africa in January.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated:December 12, 2021, 15:25 IST
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New Delhi: Shikhar Dhawan’s poor run of form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy would keep the selectors worried but young turks Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer seems to have all but booked their tickets for the upcoming away three-match ODI series against South Africa in January. While BCCI has announced Rohit Sharma as the next captain of the ODI side, the squad for the series is yet to be finalised. It remain to be seen how many rookies do selectors take for the 50-over competition keeping bubble-life and workload management in mind.

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The two names who are in the midst of a stellar Vijay Hazare Trophy season are Gaikwad and Iyer, who have now hit three and two hundreds respectively in the competition so far. Iyer, on his part, has also taken some important wickets, making it amply clear that he is ready to push back Hardik Pandya for the time being as team’s premier all-rounder.

It is understood that once it was clear that Iyer, who is a specialist opener will find it difficult to fit in at the top of the order in presence of KL Rahul and Rohit, he will have to improvise and perhaps bat at number five or six as a designated finisher. Iyer has taken the role like a fish to water as he batted at number four against Kerala to score 112 off 84 balls and then pushed the envelope further scoring 71 off 49 balls batting at number five.

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And on Sunday, he surpassed his earlier effort with a 151 off 113 balls that had no less than 10 sixes. “Venkatesh is surely going to South Africa. He is bowling 9 or 10 overs in every game and with Hardik still recuperating, it is the best time to give him chance and get him battle ready for the bigger events ahead,” a BCCI source privy to selection committee discussion told .

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