'At the start, he doesn't know the manner in which to bat': Gavaskar names India's openers for Afghanistan match

  • Sunil Gavaskar feels India will not stick to the opening pair from the previous match and expects Rohit Sharma to return as opener along with KL Rahul. Rohit, who has four T20I centuries, opening for India, was made to bat at No. 3 against New Zealand with Ishan opening the innings with Rahul.
 India's KL Rahul bumps fists with Ishan Kishan after hitting a four (REUTERS)
 India's KL Rahul bumps fists with Ishan Kishan after hitting a four (REUTERS)
Published on Nov 03, 2021 07:21 AM IST
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Following two straight defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand, India’s campaign at the T20 World Cup is in doldrums. For Virat Kohli’s team, Tuesday will mark a do-or-die situation as India take on Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi. The equation is simple – If India lose this, it is curtains for them, and no outcome of any other games can change their fate. If India win, they still hang on, albeit by a thread.

So as India head into a crucial must-win encounter against Afghanistan, the Playing XI will once again be the cynosure of all eyes. Plenty has been read and spoken about the composition of the team, especially coming on the back of consecutive defeats. Questions persist over the status of Suryakumar Yadav, who missed the previous game due to back spasms but underwent extensive fitness drills on the eve of the Afghanistan match. If he is fit, will he return?... and if he does, will Ishan Kishan miss out are some of the questions surrounding the team management.

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Weighing in on the combination, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels the team will not stick to the opening pair from the previous match and expects Rohit Sharma to return as opener along with KL Rahul. Rohit, who has four T20I centuries, opening for India, was made to bat at No. 3 against New Zealand with Ishan opening the innings with Rahul. However, for this crunch Afghanistan tie, Gavaskar reckons things will change and India will go ahead with their trusted pair on Tuesday evening.

"I think in this game, Rohit will open with Rahul and Virat will come in at No. 3. At No. 4 or 5 Ishan Kishan should come. We don’t even know if Suryakumar Yadav is fit. He was not dropped but he had some issues in the back which is why Ishan Kishan played in his place. But if he is fit, Suryakumar is likely to return," Gavaskar said on Sports Tak.

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As for Ishan, if he plays, Gavaskar feels the ideal position for him will be in the middle-order, especially if he comes to bat at the fag end of the innings. Being the destructive player that Ishan is, Gavaskar is confident that the 23-year-old can be a handy option for India with overs running out.

"I think Ishan should bat at either No. 4 or 5. It will be good for him because when he comes to bat, I am guessing around 4-5 overs will be left and he can swing his bat as much as he wants. At the start, there is some problem because he does not know the manner in which to bat, how many runs needed. That is the only change I see happening. Rohit returns to his opening position and Ishan, if he plays, will bat at either No. 4 or 5," explained Gavaskar.

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Monday, November 29, 2021