The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief selector Chetan Sharma has heaped praise on in-form opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has been selected for the upcoming ODIs against South Africa, saying that the Maharashtra batter would 'do wonders' in national colours. (More Cricket News)
India are scheduled to play three ODIs against South Africa on January 19, 21 and 23 at Paarl and Cape Town respectively. The team for the same was picked on Friday by the Sharma-led selection panel.
"Look, absolutely (he has) got the opportunity at the right time. He was in the T20 team and also now he is in the ODI team, wherever his place can be made, selectors are thinking he will go and do wonders for the country," Sharma said at the team selection press conference.
The 24-year-old Ruturaj, who hails from Pune, was the leading scorer in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 after he amassed a staggering 635 runs and played a key role in Chennai Super Kings winning the title.
According to Sharma, Ruturaj was rewarded for his stellar performance. "We have selected him (Ruturaj). Now it is up to the (team) management to see when he can play in the XI, when he is required and how to go about the combination, these things we will coordinate.
"But, at present, he (Ruturaj) was in the T20 side also against New Zealand and he is in ODI now. He is doing well and he is rewarded for that," added Sharma, himself a former India pacer.
After his IPL 2021 high, the opener continued his dazzling form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy too and was the leading scorer there, aggregating 603 runs from five matches with 168 as his highest score. He made his T20I debut against Sri Lanka last July at Colombo.
The Indian team will be led by KL Rahul in South Africa after limited-overs skipper Rohit Sharma is yet to recover from an injury he sustained in Mumbai before the team's departure for the Test series against South Africa. Rohit was initially named in the Test side too before he was replaced by Priyank Panchal.