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Will Shubman Gill choose childhood good friend Abhishek over CSK skipper Ruturaj as his opening associate?

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If chosen, it is going to be Abhishek Sharma’s India debut, whereas Ruturaj Gaikwad has already performed 15 matches (6 T20Is and 9 ODIs). 

Shubman Gill is going to find out how tough the captaincy gig is. He may lead the Gujarat Titans in the IPL, but leading while being the Indian skipper is a whole different ball game. Selecting an XI for the 1st T20I against Zimbabwe won’t be easy, and he’ll have to start that by picking his opening partner, which will either be his childhood friend Abhishek Sharma or Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Gaikwad, who’s the current Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain and led Team India in the Asian Games, is coming off the back of a successful IPL 2024 season, with the bat and under the captaincy hat. However, Abhishek had an even better season. He scored 100 fewer runs but was striking at a 63 higher rate than him.

IPL 2024 Stats: Ruturaj Gaikwad vs Abhishek Sharma

Inn Runs Avg SR 50s/100s
14 583 53 141.16 4/1
16 484 32.27 204.21 3/0

Why Abhishek will open with Shubman

Multiple things will go in Gaikwad’s favour. He has played 6 T20Is for India already and is a proven performer in the IPL. Age is also on his side; at 27, the right-handed opener knows his game and switches gears if and when needed. We’ve also seen in the past that the Indian management often backs tried and tested players and believes in a pecking order, in which those who have already been part of the team get a nod ahead. 

The case for Abhishek is simple. His superior hitting in the powerplay and unrelentless to take on the bowlers make him dangerous in all conditions. He also provides a lefty-righty combination at the top. His equation with Shubman also helps. The duo have played together since childhood and have known their games well.

Ruturaj also played at No. 3 for CSK during the recently concluded IPL season and did well. That could mean that, despite his experience and proven track record, Abhishek could open with Shubman, and Ruturaj will come one down.

Latest on India vs Zimbabwe series

India’s Predicted XI vs Zimbabwe

Shubman Gill (c), Abhishek Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Riyan Parag, Rinku Singh, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar.

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