On Wednesday, India showed how desperate they are in search of a sixth bowling option as they even tried Virat Kohli for a couple of overs, in a match where Rohit Sharma captained the side.
The 28-year-old superstar, whose fitness is a concern heading into the event as he did not bowl in the IPL, spoke about the many challenges of his life.
Rahul'll be the favourite considering that he has the experience of playing pressure matches and is in good form having made 626 runs (including 30 sixes) at a strike-rate of 138.80 in 14 IPL games.
With pace all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who plays for Mumbai Indians, not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues, the selectors wanted a cover for him.
Hardik's position becomes crucial to team composition and will once again need Dhoni to sit down with Kohli, Rohit and head coach Ravi Shastri to take a call.
Hardik Pandya played five games in the UAE leg of IPL without a lot of success.
Since the IPL resumed in the UAE, Pandya has not bowled for Mumbai Indians in addition to missing two matches.
On Friday, Mahela Jayawardene had said Hardik might struggle with the bat if he pushes too hard to bowl in the ongoing IPL.
Ever since his return from a back surgery that he underwent in 2019, Hardik hasn't been bowling as much as he used to.
Hardik smashed two fours and a six in the penultimate over bowled by Mohammed Shami as his 40 not out off 30 balls saw MI snap a three-match losing streak.
Even when he missed the first two matches of the UAE leg, Mumbai Indians' bowling coach Shane Bond said they are trying to balance the needs of the Indian team without getting into the specifics.
Harshal removed Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Rahul Chahar off successive deliveries to defend a target of 165 without breaking much sweat.
MI did not have the best of starts in the second phase of the tournament, losing their first two games against Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Pandya, who has hardly bowled ever since returning to action after a back surgery last year, missed his second successive IPL game in the UAE leg.
West Indies' Kieron Pollard had led the Mumbai Indians side against Chennai Super Kings in the absence of Rohit, who has a dodgy knee while Pandya also missed the game due to a niggle.