Harsha Bhogle seems very impressed with two Indian youngsters, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer, who are setting the stage ablaze in the currently going Vijay Hazare trophy. While Ruturaj has already scored three hundred in four games for Maharashtra, Venkatesh Iyer, despite batting lower down the order at no. 6, played a whirlwind knock of 150 today coming in to bat at a stage where Madhya Pradesh were 4 down for 56.
With the announcement of the ODI squad for the tour of South Africa not too far away, this might be the breakthrough season for both Ruturaj and Venkatesh, none of whom has made his debut for India yet in One Day International cricket.
The reason why Harsha Bhogle and several other pundits have been regularly keeping an eye on the performances of both Ruturaj and Venkatesh Iyer is that there are a couple of vacant or potentially vacant spots to be filled in India’s 50-over team.
Hardik Pandya’s bowling fitness has taken a major hit since his back operation and he is reportedly contemplating taking a break before the next IPL in order to work on his fitness, which means India needs a seam bowling all rounder to balance their squad.
While Venkatesh is more of a batsman than a seam bowler, he can give the captain Rohit Sharma a few overs with the ball if needed and be the 6th bowler of the side, apart from batting in the lower middle order.
As far as Ruturaj Gaikwad is concerned, his stocks have risen dramatically with not only a successful IPL, but after that a very successful Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare trophy as well. He has piled on so many runs now that it has become almost impossible to overlook him when India announces their next ODI squad.
Ruturaj can be a straight fill-in for Shikhar Dhawan if the selectors decide that the time is up for the veteran left-hander, and they might need to look at someone else for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Harsha Bhogle first checks the scorecards of matches involving Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh
Since Ruturaj is a good player of spin, he can play a key role for India in the 2023 ODI World Cup, as it will be played in home conditions, mostly on spinning decks.
Harsha Bhogle tweeted yesterday that he is so excited about Ruturaj and Venkatesh Iyer that when he checks the scores of Vijay Hazare trophy these days, he makes sure he first opens the scorecards of the matches involving Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, as he first wants to know how Ruturaj and Venkatesh are going.
Venkatesh Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad are making me go to MP and Maharashtra first when I scan the Vijay Hazare Trophy scores. They must wish they could hang on to this form forever!
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 11, 2021