In-form Gaikwad should be picked for ODIs in South Africa, says Vengsarkar | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar believes that opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has been in red-hot form, having cracked three consecutive hundreds for Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at Rajkot, should now be “straight away” picked for the forthcoming three-match ODI series in South Africa.
While he was out for 21 against Uttarakhand on Sunday, on Saturday, Gaikwad scored 124 off 129 balls against Kerala, following scores of 154* (vs Chhattisgarh) & 136 (vs Madhya Pradesh) in the first two games of the tournament. The opener was the top run scorer in the last IPL in September-October in the UAE, having cracked 635 runs in 16 innings @45.35, in a tally which included four fifties and his maiden IPL hundred.

“You must pick a man in form. How many more runs does he need to score to prove himself ? It is high time the selectors pick him straight away and give him a proper opportunity,” Vengsarkar told TOI on Sunday.
For the record, Gaikwad, playing for a second-string Indian side, played two T20Is against Sri Lanka in July, in which he scored 35 runs. With skipper Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul being the regular openers, and Shikhar Dhawan and Ishan Kishan also in the fray, there’s stiff competition for opening slots in the Indian white-ball team currently.
“He can bat at No 3 also. He must be accommodated in the team,” said Vengsarkar. The team for the ODIs is likely to be selected after the league stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. For someone who, as the chairman of the national selection committee, fast-tracked India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli into the Indian team back in 2008, Vengsarkar knows a thing or two about blooding youngsters for India at the right time.
“It’s not like Ruturaj 18 or 19. He’s 24 now. There’s no point in picking him when he’ll be 28,” felt Vengsarkar.
Vengsarkar was impressed by Gaikwad the first time he saw the youngster, who was just a 10-year-old then, at his cricket academy in Pune. The 116-Test veteran later took him to Lancashire in England for exposure tours.

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