India sealed the one day series against Australia after a comprehensive victory in the third ODI. However, the Men in Blue suffered a significant setback in spite of success. Shikhar Dhawan, the in-form opener injured himself while fielding a shot from Aaron Finch and did not come out to bat. The left-handed batsman went for X-Ray, and an injury was located in his left-shoulder which will force out of the T20 series against New Zealand.
However, his injury might prove a classic example of one man’s loss is another man’s gain. The New Zealand series comprises of five games and is going to be the most extended T20 series India has ever played. Shikhar’s replacement will get five games to cement his place as an opener in the Indian squad. The three players who are in contention to replace in the Indian opener are:
Prithvi Shaw made his debut for team India against West Indies in 2018. He scored a century in his debut and became the second youngest Indian to score a century. Shaw became a regular in the test team, and talks started circulating of bringing him into the limited-overs side.
However, Shaw had a gruesome 2019 and recurring injuries and one year ban due to doping allegation halted his progress. He recently returned from his ban and has again started to impress.
His performances in New Zealand where he is touring with the India A team make him the most likely replacement of Shikhar Dhawan. He scored an exceptional 150 runs at a strike rate of 150 against New Zealand A.
However, his lull from cricket in the past year might stop him from making an entry into team India.
Mayank Agarwal is the epitome of hard work. He was often overlooked in the initial stages of his career for more attractive batsmen such as Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan etc. However, the headstrong Mayank was adamant and kept on performing consistently over the year. Shaw’s injury gave him a chance to cement his spot in the Test squad and Mayank hasn’t looked back. He has become a constant name on the team sheet in the red-ball cricket.
Mayank has a strike rate of over 130 in T20s whereas he possesses a strike rate of a little over 101. He also has maintained an average of over 50 in list A games and would be one of the prime candidates to replace Shikhar in the white-ball cricket.
Ajinkya Rahane was a strong contender in the Indian team for the opening as well as the number four slot. However, his inability to rotate the strike in the middle overs could not cement his place in the playing 11.
Though thing has changed in the recent times and there have been murmurs of his comeback in various cricketing alleys. His potential to hold the strike at one end might trigger a comeback for Rahane at the opening slot.
Though, the one thing which goes against Rahane and his return to the Indian team is his slow strike rate. He has a strike rate of a little over 113 in T20Is and less than 75 in ODIs.
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