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Should Virat Kohli open with Rohit Sharma in T20 World Cup?

Should Virat Kohli open with Rohit Sharma in T20 World Cup?

With selectors facing a combination problem to have Shivam Dube or Sanju Samson, Virat Kohli opening with Rohit Sharma in T20 World Cup could solve the problem.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma — the two most successful players in T20s — will perhaps play their last T20 World Cup in June. But even as Rohit Sharma is the designated opener, there has been a lot of talk about where should Virat Kohli bat. No doubt, Kohli has cemented his place at No 3. But with the India Cricket Team facing a combination problem in T20 World Cup 2024, should Virat Kohli open with Rohit Sharma again?

The selectors and the BCCI haven’t rejected the idea yet. While Virat Kohli is a great influence at No 3 as he can hold the innings together, opening is still a possibility.

“Of course, Virat as an opener is never ruled out. If the team management feels it can help accommodate another player, why not. Virat has been very flexible in terms of batting position. He also regularly opens for his IPL team RCB. So, there are no such issues around that. But it’s team management’s decision,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport.

How is Virat Kohli as an opener?

While Virat Kohli may be known as a No 3 batter, he does have excellent stats as an opener in T20s, even better than Rohit Sharma.

In IPL, Kohli has opened in 103 matches, scoring 3927 runs at an outstanding average of 45.66 and a strike rate of 136.26. In fact, Kohli has scored all 8 IPL centuries as an opener. His record is better than Rohit Sharma even though the India captain is known as an aggressive batter.

In T20Is, Kohli has only batted in 9 innings as an opener. But he has a century apart from scoring at a 57.14 average and 161.29 strike rate. That could come in handy in the T20 World Cup 2024.

IPL 2024 Latest

Virat Kohli vs Rohit Sharma as openers

IPLT20I
PlayerMatRunsAvgSRMatRunsAvgSR
Virat Kohli103392745.66136.26940057.14161.29
Rohit Sharma92244928.15130.4116349332.34142.11
Courtesy: Howstats

Why should Rohit-Kohli open in T20 World Cup?

  • The simple answer to that question is to remove any problems around combinations.
  • If Kohli moves up to the top, it opens up a spot at No 3 for someone like Sanju Samson or Shivam Dube to bat.
  • And even if Sanju does not get the nod, India can fit in an all-rounder like Tilak Varma or Shivam Dube.
  • That will give India the advantage of having a sixth bowling option.
  • Currently, India’s Top 6 cannot bowl, making it a batting-heavy side with only 5 specialist options.
  • A seam-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya is a must in that situation.
Shivam Dube or Sanju Samson may miss out but if Virat Kohli opens with Rohit Sharma in T20 World Cup could solve the issue.

If Virat Kohli bats at No 3

If Virat Kohli bats at No 3, India will need to have either Shubman Gill or Yashasvi Jaiswal with Rohit Sharma at the top.

That blocks the path for Shivam Dube who has been in fantastic form in IPL 2024. And having him at No 3 or 4 will allow India to hit big in the middle overs. At present, the onus is completely on Suryakumar Yadav to shoulder the responsibility.

It will also block the path for someone like Sanju Samson, who has done the hard bit. Sanju is consistently scoring in IPL 2024. But if Kohli opens, he will miss the chance in India’s Playing XI.

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