We witnessed KL Rahul’s return to cricket after over two months and safe to say, it was worth the wait. India continued their impressive run in white-ball cricket after emphatic victories over the hosts Zimbabwe in the first and second ODI of the India Tour of Zimbabwe. The young Indian side looked impressive and were prolific against a side who were on a winning streak of their own.
Let’s go through some important takeaways from the first two matches of the India Tour of Zimbabwe that might influence the T20 World Cup squad.
Shikhar Dhawan still at the top of his game
Shikhar Dhawan is still maintaining top form at the age of 36 years. The former Indian captain took two brilliant catches on the field with an impressive 81* to help India cross the finish line with ease and followed that up with a solid 33 in the second one. Dhawan, who was the appointed captain against Zimbabwe before KL Rahul’s inclusion, proved how good a player he still is as we get closer to the T20 World Cup.
His current form, as opposed to the likes of Virat Kohli, surely gives the southpaw a far greater advantage as Dhawan looks like a more preferable player for India.
KL Rahul’s return to cricket
KL Rahul’s return to captaincy was a glorious one as he started with a win. India won the toss and chose to bowl first. Rahul’s trust in returning Deepak Chahar proved to be fruitful for the Men in Blue as they wrapped up the first innings in the 41st over. From the fielding setups to the bowling selection, KL’s influence on the pitch was for all to see.
However, the skipper hasn’t been able to show similar dominance on the batting front. He didn’t bat in this first match as the openers wrapped up the game early, but only scored a solo run in the second ODI.
Strong blowing candidates for World Cup spot
Prasidh Krishna and Axar Patel were prolific with the ball as each picked up three wickets to humble the hosts, followed by 1 each in the second. In the first ODI, Krishna fared brilliantly in the middle overs and subdued threats like Richard Ngarava and Ryan Burl to keep their score within 200 runs.
On the other hand, Axar Patel continues to be reliable for India as he replicates his top form against Zimbabwe. He dismissed the Chevrons’ captain Regis Chakabva, who looked dangerous, for 35 in the first ODI. It is only a matter of time before the BCCI will have a tough call to pick someone from the experienced batch and the young batch.
Deepak Chahar being sensational on return
KL Rahul wasn’t the only player returning from injury. Deepak Chahar was on the sidelines for the majority of the year and even missed the 2022 Indian T20 League due to a back injury. The 29-year-old however returned to cricket after nearly six months in a scintillating fashion, taking three early wickets in the first ODI. His command on the swing was a joy to watch.
It will be exciting to see the prospects of Deepak featuring in the upcoming T20 World Cup as young players emerge. Should he continue to be prolific with the ball, it will be a tough cookie to crack for the BCCI to select the right players for the biggest competition in T20 cricket.
Shubman Gill look like a man on a mission
Shubman Gill, just 22 years old, has been very impressive this year. He continues to outclass his teammates and strongholds his prospects of making it into the T20 World Cup squad. His performance in the first ODI against Zimbabwe was nothing short of spectacular. His fielding was spot on as he took two brilliant catches. His batting reflects his top-notch form as he bludgeoned the Zimbabwean bowlers to score 82* off 72 balls, following it up with another 33 in the second ODI.
With one more game remaining, we are yet to see what KL Rahul and his Men in Blue have to offer. Hopefully, we will find out more as the India Tour of Zimbabwe series unfolds.
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