'KL Rahul might beat Virat Kohli in the race': Aakash Chopra selects India's openers for T20 World Cup

  • Aakash Chopra said the choice of India openers for T20 World Cup will perhaps boil down to a battle between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, in which he said the latter might come out on top.
India captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul
India captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul
Published on Jul 06, 2021 10:04 AM IST
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Former India opener Aakash Chopra said it might be a toss-up between captain Virat Kohli and the talented KL Rahul for the opener’s spot with Rohit Sharma in the upcoming T20 World Cup which is slated to be played in the UAE and Oman in October-November this year.

While answering a fan’s query on his YouTube channel, Chopra named four options for India’s opening slot, adding that Rohit Sharma is an automatic selection.

“India have a lot of choices. Shikhar Dhawan is one, KL Rahul is the second and then you’ve got Virat Kohli too. And I would like to add Prithvi Shaw. The brand of cricket that he plays is amazing, it’s not necessary that he will score in every match but the day he scores, he will be unstoppable,” Chopra said.

The former opener, however, said it will perhaps boil down to a battle between Kohli and Rahul, in which he said the latter might come out on top.

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“In the end, it might just be a toss-up between Rahul and Kohli. Rahul might just win that race because now Pant will come in the middle order so there is no need for Rahul to play that role. Hardik Pandya, Pant and Ravindra Jadeja can handle the middle order duties. So I would play Rahul up the order and Kohli at 3 or maybe the other way around,” Chopra said.

Rahul and Rohit have been India’s preferred openers when both of them have been available for selection in T20Is. In the five-match home series against England, Rohit opened in all matches while Rahul partnered him thrice. Dhawan was ignored after the first match.

The twist in the tale, however, came when captain Kohli decided to open with Rohit in the final T20I and slammed a match-winning 80 off just 52 balls. The fact that Kohli also opens for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, is also set to play a key role in deciding India’s opening pair for the T20 World Cup.

Chopra said, if Dhawan has a good series in Sri Lanka followed by a good IPL then it will be difficult to ignore him.

“If Shikhar Dhawan scores two hundreds and three fifties in the Sri Lanka tour then how will you rule him out? He anyway plays well in the IPL, so does Prithvi Shaw. So, it’s an interesting situation, I would call it a sweet headache for Indian selectors,” he said.

Dhawan will lead a young Indian side in three ODIs and three T20Is in Sri Lanka, starting on July 13 as India’s Test regulars including captain Kohli and Rohit are in England preparing for the five-match Test series against the hosts.

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Friday, October 22, 2021