ZIM v IND 2024: “Try to fill in his shoes is very tough,” Ruturaj Gaikwad on batting at No.3 in T20Is after Virat Kohli’s retirement

Gaikwad is batting at No. 3 for India in the ongoing T20I series against Zimbabwe.

Ruturaj Gaikwad | Getty

India batter Ruturaj Gaikwad on Tuesday (July 9) acknowledged the challenges that come with filling the void left by Virat Kohli's retirement from No. 3 slot in T20Is.

Gaikwad’s comments came on the eve of India’s third T20I against Zimbabwe in Harare. The five-match series is currently level at 1-1.

Gaikwad has batted at No. 3 in the first two games, with Shubman Gill and Abhishek Sharma opening the innings. Instead of focusing on the specific position, he is concentrating on making significant contributions to the team with his batting skills.

"This is a big topic and I think it's not the right point to think about it. To even compare with him (Kohli) or try to fill in his shoes is relatively very tough and very hard," PTI quoted Gaikwad as saying.

"As I had said in the IPL as well, it is difficult to fill my best shoes as well. Definitely, you want to start your career, you want to start the way you want, you want to play your own game. So that's the priority right now.

"Focus on one game, focus on how you can contribute towards the team in whichever position you play and make sure you are on the winning side more often than not," he added.

The right-hander also clarified that he doesn't have any specific preference regarding his batting spot.

"No, wherever the team wants, I will bat there. There is no problem. There is not much difference between the opening and the number 3 because you have to play the new ball. So there is not much difference," he said.

Gaikwad, who captained CSK in the IPL 2024 season, mentioned that the added responsibility did not impact his batting performance.

"Actually, to be honest, nothing has changed much. Because my batting has been the same as before. I have to play with responsibility and try and finish it on my own," he said.

"It's just that the way you look at the game, I think every time you are more involved now in the game since you have captained the IPL franchise for a long period of time.

"So you tend to be into the game for a longer period of time instead of just staying in the boundary outside and just focusing on one ball. As I said, batting wise it's not made much difference."

In the second T20I against Zimbabwe, young India opener Abhishek Sharma slammed 100 off 47 balls and revealed after the match that Gaikwad assisted him in maintaining a balanced outlook during his explosive knock.

"Actually, communication is not from a senior player," Gaikwad said. "It comes from a batting partner because obviously with non-strikers you feel something about a particular bowler or particular conditions and you have to have that confidence to go and share with your partner whatever you feel and what are the right options, what to do in certain situations.

"Definitely this is something which I have been doing since being part of all the teams whether state team, IPL team or Indian team as well..."

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 10 Jul, 2024

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