After India suffered a 31-run defeat against South Africa in the first ODI on Wednesday in Paarl, Sunil Gavaskar has stated that stand-in captain KL Rahul looked like he had run out of ideas in the series opener. Gavaskar further added Rahul should open the innings in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
Team India suffered a resounding 1-2 defeat in the three-match Test series against South Africa, and the visitors yet again failed to dominate the Proteas as they went down to the Temba Bavuma-led side in the first ODI by 31 runs on Wednesday in Paarl. After winning the toss, South Africa opted to bat first, and Temba Bavuma's and Rassie van der Dussen's centuries guided their side to a total of 296/4.
Despite half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Shardul Thakur, South Africa restricted the visitors to 265/8 and registered a 31-run victory against the KL Rahul-led side. After the match, Rahul received a lot of criticism from fans and experts regarding his field setup and bowling changes in the first ODI.
Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar has stated that India stand-in captain Rahul looked like he had run out of ideas in the first ODI against South Africa. The former Indian cricketer further added that he hopes India can rectify the mistake and turn it around in the second and third ODis.
"Well, when there is a partnership, sometimes the captain goes out of ideas. I think that is what happened. This was a very good pitch to bat on. The ball was coming onto the bat quite nicely, you can play through the line," Gavaskar said on Sports Today.
"But, these are early days of his captaincy and maybe things will turn around, let's hope for Indian cricket's sake that things turn around in the next couple of days," he added.
Gavaskar opined that Rahul should open the innings along with Dhawan in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
"Not when Rohit is not around. He is in the team as an opening batter in all formats of the game. I don't think he should be looking to bat himself down at No. 4 or 5. Right at the top, he can lead from the front as well," he added.
The former Indian cricketer also heaped praise on Dhawan who scored 79 runs on his return to the India ODI side. Gavaskar reckoned that as long as Dhawan is scoring runs in the ODI format, there is no place for talks regarding his spot in the squad.
"As far as Shikhar Dhawan is concerned, he has been scoring runs in the 50-over format, not so much in T20s. So as long as the man is scoring runs, everything else should be put in the background. You should not going to talk about his age and all that. I don't see why there should be any talk about it," Gavaskar added.