Rahul will open, to try Venkatesh as 6th bowling option, Dhawan likely to be preferred over Ruturaj

PAARL (South Africa): India skipper KL Rahul on Tuesday hinted that all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer is likely to be groomed as the additional pace bowling option that the team has lacked ever since Hardik Pandya’s back injury while declaring that he will open alongside veteran Shikhar Dhawan in the first ODI against South Africa here.
Rahul’s media interaction was a clear indication that Ruturaj Gaikwad might have to wait for his turn and the pitch at Boland Park might prompt the team management to play both specialist spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Stand-in skipper KL Rahul on Tuesday said India did “some phenomenal things” under Virat Kohli, who has raised the bar for everyone in the team during his seven-year tenure at the helm. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Rahul is leading the team in the three-match ODI series against South Africa,
“In the past 12-15 months, I have batted in various positions because that is what the team needed of me then and now with Rohit (Sharma) not being there, I will bat at the top of the order,” the skipper informed ahead of the opening game.
‘We are looking to develop Venkatesh as sixth bowling option’
A sixth bowler, preferably seam or pace option, has been India’s major headache for the past two and half years due to Pandya’s injury and now the team management is “excited” looking at what Venkatesh brings to the table with his multiple skill-sets.
“Yes, Venkatesh Iyer has been very exciting since the time he has played for KKR in the IPL and then he joined us for the T20 series against New Zealand and he did well,” Raul said.
“Yes, fast bowling all-rounders are always an asset and we are always looking for fast bowling all-rounders as they balance the team out. It’s a great opportunity for Venkatesh as he is looking good in the nets,” the skipper added.
He hasn’t given a serious thought to the idea of being India’s full-time Test captain but KL Rahul said if chosen for the coveted job, he would try to take the “team forward” as best as he can. “It will be exciting but I am not really looking for anything at this time but if it happens to come, I
He made it clear that in the coming days, the lanky MP man would be bowling a lot in white-ball games.
“We are trying to develop Venkatesh (as the sixth bowling option) and we will give him that chance. He has done decently and he gives us that option as the sixth bowler.”
Want Shikhar to remain in good head space
Shikhar Dhawan currently plays only ODIs and it becomes difficult not to question his place in the side after a few failures but the stand-in captain wants the senior pro to remain in a good head space and play like only he can, by dominating the bowlers.
“He is a senior and experienced player and understands what is expected out of him. He is in a great space and has come out here and having fun, enjoying his cricket

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