Ruturaj Gaikwad, with his fourth hundred in the ongoing Vijay Hazare trophy, has now equalled the record of the former Indian ODI captain Virat Kohli of scoring the most number of hundreds in a single season of Vijay Hazare trophy, which is India’s top division 50-over domestic competition.
Apart from Kohli and Ruturaj, the record of scoring 4 hundred in a single Vijay Hazare trophy season is held by Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal as well, both of whom did it in the last edition of the tournament.
Ruturaj Gaikwad has played only 5 Vijay Hazare games this season so far and has gone past the three-figure mark 4 times, which is incredible, especially if it is seen in addition to his numbers in the previous IPL where he was the top run-scorer and the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy where he scored three back to back fifties for Maharashtra.
With the reports surfacing that Virat Kohli might not be available for the upcoming 3-match ODI series in South Africa, Ruturaj Gaikwad might find himself in the Indian squad, not just as an opening batsman, but as a potential no. 3 as well.
Ruturaj offers the same sort of skillset that Kohli possesses. He is someone who doesn’t really get off to a quick start all the time, but since he has a low-risk approach, he is very good at converting his starts into big knocks and scoring hundreds.
Ruturaj Gaikwad can accelerate rapidly in the middle phase of the innings
While Ruturaj converts starts, it doesn’t really mean that he can’t accelerate in the middle phase of the innings. With range all around the ground against both pace and spin, Ruturaj Gaikwad can find boundaries when needed and in succession, as he has shown plenty of times in the IPL and also showed during his knock against Chandigarh today.
Ruturaj completed his hundred against Chandigarh in 96 balls, but once he got to his hundred, his rate of scoring went up rapidly, as he batted with a strike rate of over 200 and by the time he got dismissed having scored 168 runs off 132 balls with 12 fours and 6 sixes, he had taken Maharashtra to the closing range of the target where they needed just a run a ball to win the game.
The other openers whom Ruturaj is competing for the opening slot in the Indian ODI team at the moment are not really versatile enough to bat at no. 3 or 4 if required, but Ruturaj has got that versatility. It will be hard to overlook him, particularly if Kohli pulls out of the South Africa ODIs.