Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli look like fish out of water, stand in the way of India winning T20 World Cup | Crickit
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Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli look like fish out of water, stand in the way of India winning T20 World Cup

Jun 21, 2024 12:00 PM IST

India are unlikely to win the T20 World Cup if Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma continue to open.

One thing that became very clear after India's win over Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super Eights on Thursday night is that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are hurting the team and its prospects real bad. India registered a big 47-run win but they failed to hide the fact that Rohit and Kohli at present have no idea what they are doing. If it wasn’t largely for Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya, things could have gone south for the 2007 champions.

With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli not firing, something's got to give(ICC - X)
With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli not firing, something's got to give(ICC - X)

The way Rohit and Kohli batted... at first most of us thought the pitch was not conducive to batters. They couldn’t time the ball at all. Forget boundaries, even singles appeared like accomplishments. It’s only when Rishabh Pant came to the crease after the departure of Rohit and picked up a boundary with ease off the first legit ball he faced that it became clear the pitch was not that bad. That we had been fooled by our star batters.

Rohit was more at fault at the start. He wanted to hit big shots but his timing was all over the place. He played too many dots and cut a hopeless figure, if truth be told. When he got out in the third over for 8, he had scoffed up 13 balls and had just one boundary to his name. Fellow opener Kohli had played just 4 deliveries for one, on the other hand.

But it didn’t matter because Kohli himself went on to play 24 balls and scored just 24 before getting out at a crucial time. It may sound harsh but India’s revival only started when Kohli got out. Two big elephants were out of the room and that allowed the rest of the batters to play freely and bail India out of a precarious situation.

It's clear the team management has totally got it wrong with their decision to open with Kohli. At the age of 35 and after so many successful years at No.3 in the T20 format, Kohli has looked clueless in this tournament. A far better option in Yashasvi Jaiswal is sadly warming the bench at present.

The BCCI is to blame. Rohit was already the captain of the side, so he had to play. Kohli had to be accommodated however. His situation is akin to a loyal, old employee who helped the company grow back in the day. But now that he can’t contribute much, nobody knows what to do with him.

Rohit Sharma slightly better-placed than Virat Kohli

Rohit appears to have a better deal than Kohli at present. Kohli is expected to make big scores at a good strike rate. Rohit, on the other hand, is expected to hit just a few sixes to get things going at the start – like he did in the 2023 World Cup. It’s a much smaller role, but he has struggled even in fulfilling that responsibility of late.

Surya and Hardik can’t bail the team out every day. India were lucky against Afghanistan. Seasoned teams like Australia, England and South Africa would have tightened their grip on the match after reducing them to 90/4 in the 11th over. Hence, India need to fix themselves before it’s too late. Jaiswal needs to be in the team somehow. He definitely cannot be the opener. If he has to play, he needs to get back to his old No.3 spot.

Among other issues, Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube need to be reviewed. Jadeja has looked woefully out of touch for some time now and Dube doesn’t look ripe for international cricket just yet. He is unlikely to bowl too many overs, which means his place in the team as a batsman can’t be justified. Sanju Samson can be a much better option. That Rinku Singh is not part of the 15-member squad continues to irk a lot of fans.

For India, it’s not about reaching the semis or the final. It’s about winning the tournament. Nothing less than that would do. If they don’t win again, the entire cricket establishment and culture will get the blame, and rightly so.

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