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India's Rohit Sharma-Virat Kohli opening pair in danger against Ireland: 'Heard rumours that...'

Jun 05, 2024 12:36 PM IST

The idea of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as India's opening pair at the T20 World Cup may just have to wait due to a recent development.

With Virat Kohli exuding red-hot form during the IPL and Yashasvi Jaiswal struggling for form, India seemed to be heading towards a new opening combination for the T20 World Cup. Rohit Sharma opening the innings with Kohli is not only the most star-studded Indian pair since Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, but also has the potential to be the most destructive. The belief was further solidified on Sunday when Jaiswal did not feature in India's warm-up game against Bangladesh, and Sanju Samson faced the new ball with Rohit.

Will Rohit Sharma open with Virat Kohli or is there a surprise in store?(PTI)
Will Rohit Sharma open with Virat Kohli or is there a surprise in store?(PTI)

The Rohit-Kohli opening pair looked like a sure-shot combination for India, but a fresh development may throw a spanner into the works. Former New Zealand quick Simon Doull feels the Rohit-Kohli pair may have to wait due to a rumour he just heard about Jaiswal. Doull sprung another surprise by backing Rishabh Pant to bat at No. 3 for India, followed by Suryakumar Yadav at 4, something the team tried on Sunday but, likely, the template won't be emulated when India open their World Cup campaign against Ireland in New York on Wednesday.

"My team would have Virat and Rohit opening the batting. They are the two best players to do that in this point of time and Rishabh Pant for a point of difference at 3 as a left-hand option. SKY at 4 and then you have Dube, Hardik and Jadeja at 5, 6 and 7. It just sits quite nicely for me and the Indian line-up. If they go down that road, I think it's the best way," Doull said on Cricbuzz.

"I've heard rumours today that Jaiswal was the first into the nets. They've given him plenty of opportunity. That would surprise me if they bring him in. Who do they leave out? Shivam Dube? That would surprise me a touch."

Doull backs Pant for No. 3 position

Pant at 3 is a thought not too many would have entertained, including the team management. He was always going to be India's No. 5, but when Pant, playing his first match in India Blues since December of 2022 looked like a million bucks, slamming a quickfire half-century against Bangladesh, the No. 3 slot suddenly had found another contender. Then again, Pant at 3 remains a distant reality, with both Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav ahead in the pecking order. Doull, however, loved the idea of Pant batting at 3 and wouldn't mind seeing it again against Ireland

"It was just a way of getting him into that side and splitting up that middle-order combination of left-left-left. I didn't know about Hardik Pandya at the start, so for me, it was where do I fit Rishabh Pant? Take away, let's say, him, Dube and Jadeja... all batting at 5, 6 and 7. And just giving the top order a little point of difference. I'm pleased they gave it a chance against Bangladesh. It worked well. Will they go with it again? I think they should," added Doull.

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