Ruturaj Gaikwad ended his dream Vijay Hazare Trophy season with 660 runs and four hundred in just five innings. Including 108 in the final, 168 in the seventh, and 220* in the ninth. He had scored 603 runs, once more with four hundred. In five matches of the 2021/22 edition of India’s premier List A tournament. This was his second brilliant season in a row.
After an average run in the editions prior to 2021. Gaikwad has never looked back, and his stature in List A continues to rise with each inning. The right-hander continues to score a truckload of runs, with an average of over 60 in the format, which is the best in the business. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he had a fantastic run with Chennai Super Kings. Scoring 204 runs in six innings and 635 runs in 16 innings, respectively.
His ten matches for India—nine T20Is and one ODI—were not ideal, and an injury that occurred at the wrong time kept him out of the race. Presently, the 25-year-old ends up headed for a return to the senior group. He has responded well by winning the father Vijay Hazare Trophy, but the India call may take longer than anticipated. When it comes to the Indian cricket team’s openers, there is a sort of traffic jam, which will be a happy headache for the new selectors.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and KL Rahul are already there. Shubman Gill, who has performed admirably in the few opportunities he has had, is also there. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Prithvi Shaw are already in the wings. Both Mumbai openers continue to score runs across formats and have not faltered on the domestic circuit.
Gaikwad may have a long wait in such a situation, but his knockout performance shows that he has made significant progress. Ask any former cricketer, coach, or player, and they’ll tell you that Gaikwad has three consecutive hundred in the knockouts! When it comes to big games, the right-hander’s demeanor and ability to switch gears have been unmatched. Every one of his hundreds could be broken into two differentiating thumps.
When the eyes are in, watchful versus pace, explosive versus spin, and all-out. A very disciplined Saurashtra attack forced him to work hard and also caused the right-hander to make a lot of mistakes in the final. However, Gaikwad was prepared for battle and desired to bat until the very end. Gaikwad’s time in the middle was cut short by a miscommunication with his partner just as the fireworks were expected. Maharashtra, which finished as runners-up this year, might have had a different outcome had he stayed for a longer period of time.
Strong competition Take a look at this. Yashasvi Jaiswal has scored two hundred and two fifties in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, averaging nearly 54 in the format. Scored a big FC hundred (145) for India A against Bangladesh A in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He also had 266 runs in nine innings. Shaw’s List A season was disappointing because the explosive right-hander didn’t make the most of the starts he got. However, in the SMAT, he was in the zone and scored 322 runs at a strike rate of 180 or higher in ten games.
Shaw won the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2020/21, scoring 827 runs in eight innings and hitting four hundred. Following up, that year was the extremely skilled southpaw from Bengaluru Devdutt Padikkal who scored 737 runs from 7 innings. That year, he also scored four hundred. Kindly remind me: He’s also a good opener.
Then there is somebody like Shubman Gill. The classy right-hander has hit a hundred and four doubles and scored 687 runs in 15 ODI matches for his country, averaging 57.25 runs per innings. Surprisingly, the Bangladesh series ODI squad did not include him because selectors moved on to Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, two returning senior pros.
The Indian cricket team needs to prepare for next year’s 50-over World Cup and the T20 World Cup in 2024. So the next few months are very important, especially in the white ball setup. The selectors and management are in for a tough time due to the players’ performance in their opportunities with the Indian team and on the domestic circuit.