BAN vs IND 2022: Gavaskar warns Rahul and Iyer to not get complacent with Hardik’s likely return in ODIs

India lost the three-match ODI series opener versus hosts Bangladesh, in Dhaka, by one wicket after being bundled out for 186. As Shakib Al Hasan rattled the famed Indian batting line-up, on a tough track, with a fine 5 for 36, India bowlers produced a top show but couldn’t get rid of the last-wicket stand between Player-of-the-Match Mehedi Hasan (38 not out) and Mustafizur Rahman as the duo took their side home with four overs to spare.

From India’s perspective, KL Rahul top-scored with a fine 70-ball 73 whereas in-form batter Shreyas Iyer struck 24 (39) along with Rohit Sharma and Washington Sundar also getting starts. Before the second and penultimate ODI, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar has a word of advise for Rahul and Iyer, who have been very good in ODI cricket of late. Gavaskar feels both have done well but cannot afford to relax with all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s return in the format inevitable.

Speaking to Sony Sports, Gavaskar said, “When you have someone breathing down you neck like KL Rahul will feel Shreyas Iyer is breathing down his neck which is again good for Rahul because he would want to go out there not taking any match lightly. He would want to score in every game. And both of them are outstanding fielders and KL Rahul can keep wickets which is a huge plus. Iyer can also bowl. So it is good to have these kind of competitions for No. 5 and 6 not to forget that there is a certain Hardik Pandya who is also likely to comeback in the one-day side sooner than later.”

With the ODI World Cup in less than a year, to be held in India, the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team is tinkering with their team combination in a bid to finalise their XI. Rahul, the vice-captain and part-time keeper, Iyer and Hardik will certainly be one of the key players for the two-time winners whereas Rishabh Pant also cannot be ruled out, who slammed his maiden ODI ton in India’s famous series win over hosts England in July 2022. 

Thus, India are spoiled for choices and need to smartly finalise their playing XI for the mega event next year.