KL Rahul continued his golden run with the bat by scoring a dominant 88* from just 64 balls in the first ODI against New Zealand. His furious onslaught of six-hitting display was pivotal in India posting 347-4 while batting first in Hamilton. Earlier in the tour, KL Rahul was also adjudged as 'Player of the Series' in T20Is for scoring 224 runs in five matches.
Regular Indian opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were both injured ahead of the ODI series against New Zealand. Their ouster from the line-up prompted Indian captain Virat Kohli to appoint Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal as their replacements. The two cricketers opened the innings in the first ODI and combined together to form a 50-run stand.
However, former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir believes that the team management should have opted to go with KL Rahul as India’s opener in ODI series. While writing for a leading Indian publication, Gautam Gambhir opined that it was not a good idea to remove KL Rahul from the top of the order given the kind of form he has been in. Gambhir described Rahul as a valuable asset for the ‘Men in Blue’ who must be well looked after.
Gambhir went on to add that India should have gone with Mayank Agarwal as KL Rahul’s opening partner and kept Rishabh Pant as ODI wicketkeeper. The former cricketer also acknowledged India’s 5-0 T20I triumph over New Zealand by describing it as an unprecedented achievement. He credited captain Virat Kohli for his leadership and for infusing a strict fitness regime in the group.