'India making huge mistake by opening with Virat Kohli, batting-order is wrong': Kamran Akmal before Pakistan clash | Crickit
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'India making huge mistake by opening with Virat Kohli, batting-order is wrong': Kamran Akmal before Pakistan clash

Jun 08, 2024 06:21 AM IST

India vs Pakistan: Akmal said Virat Kohli should be batting at No.3 as he can hold one end up and take the game deep, allowing the others to bat around him.

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Kamran Akmal said it is a big mistake to open with Virat Kohli in the T20 World Cup. In their tournament opener against Ireland, India opened with Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma instead of picking designated opener Yashasvi Jaiswal. The move did not succeed as Kohli managed only 1 off 5 balls, but the Indian team management is in no mood to tinker with the batting order that played against Ireland.

India's captain Rohit Sharma, right, and partner Virat Kohli run between wickets(PTI)
India's captain Rohit Sharma, right, and partner Virat Kohli run between wickets(PTI)

That means Kohli and Rohit will be at the top, followed by Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav at Nos. 3 and 4 against Pakistan on Sunday. Akmal, however, did not agree with it. He said Kohli should be batting at No.3 as he can hold one end up and take the game deep, allowing the others to bat around him.

"I don't think the batting order is correct. Virat Kohli can take the pressure at No.3 and finish the match. That is very important for Team India. Yashasvi Jaiswal should open the batting. Kohli should come at 3. If India stick to this batting order (of Kohli) opening, then they may get stuck at some point. Kohli holds one end up and finishes off the game. I think India are making a mistake by opening with Kohli," Akmal said on his YouTube channel.

Kohli has been a designated opener for his IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bengaluru, for the last few seasons. His performance in the recently concluded 17th tournament edition was superb. Kohli ended up with the Orange Cap (awarded to the highest run-scorer) after scoring 741 runs at a strike rate of 154 - his best in the history of IPL.

Besides, Kohli, as an opener, solves several problems for India. It opens up a spot in the middle order for them to add someone like Shivam Dube and gives Rishabh Pant a better position. Pant hasn't quite made an impact in this format while batting at No.5. That captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid were considering Pant as an option at No.3 was evident when the keeper-batter was sent at that position in the warm-up match against Bangladesh.

Pant scored a fifty in that warm-up match against Bangladesh and started the T20 World Cup in style by smashing an unbeaten 36 off 25 balls to take India home by 8 wickets against Ireland.

India produced a complete performance in their first match of the tournament but their real test will be against Pakistan, who will be desperate to bring their campaign back on track after a shock defeat against the USA.

"India will be confident. Bumrah bowled well, Siraj did well. Hardik Pandya also got wickets. They have three matches at the same venue, that will also be an advantage," Akmal said.

Akmal was also very critical of the pitches on offer in New York. "ICC will have to produce better pitches for big matches. Otherwise, people will go away from this World Cup," he said.

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