IND vs PAK: Navjot Singh Sidhu reveals 'Shivam Dube' factor that forced India to open with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma in T20 World Cup

Published - 08 Jun 2024, 05:25 PM

Virat Kohli, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rohit Sharma (Credits: X)

Team India's decision to promote Virat Kohli as an opener in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2024 has surprised many including former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu. 

Apart from Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal is the only specialist opener in the Indian squad. Unsurprisingly, it was expected that the youngster would accompany the captain at the top of the batting order. However, the Indian team management has decided otherwise. With Virat Kohli doing well as an opener in the IPL, he has been promoted as an opener in the ongoing tournament.

While only time will tell whether the decision from the Indian team management is right or not, Navjot Singh Sidhu has explained the reason behind it. Speaking on Star Sports, the former cricketer-turned-commentator stated that the Indian team management has taken the decision in order to accommodate both Shivam Dube and Axar Patel in the playing eleven.

" ... they have changed the combination because then Dube and Axar wouldn't have got the opportunity to play, so they have made this combination for a correct composition where Axar is batting at no.8, especially in this pitch where bowlers have an advantage," he said.

"If the tournament would have opened in West Indies, then we would have seen Rohit and Yashasvi opening the match, there you wouldn't have needed the sixth or the seventh bowler. You can't expect 200 runs in this pitch, 130 or 140 runs would be good, and this combination will work," he added.

Speaking further, the former India opener began by saying that the word game-changer should not be thrown around loosely in T20 cricket. He then stated that while Kohli could be a game-changer if he gets the right support.

"See, game changers are those who will score 2 runs in a ball," Sidhu said.

"You are talking about strike rates, 1.5, 1.7, but there are some people who are scoring 2.5 runs, three runs per ball. There are some people who in the end will come and score in 10 balls, a 35. Now that is the quality.

"That 35 in ten balls, if two people score and support someone like Virat Kohli, is a game changer. Make no mistake about it," he added.

Poor start for Virat Kohli:

Virat Kohli has started his campaign in the T20 World Cup on a poor note. Opening the batting for the very first time in the T20 World Cup, the former India skipper was out for just 1 run off 5 balls against Ireland. Fortunately for India, Kohli's failure did not cost them as they went on to thrash Ireland by 8 wickets to start their campaign with a win.

Kohli will be looking to bounce back when India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their next game, scheduled to be played on Sunday (June 9). The right-handed batsman has scored 4 fifties in 5 T20 World Cup games against Pakistan and will be looking to extend his fine record.

Before the T20 World Cup, Kohli had a brilliant outing in IPL 2024 as well. He finished the competition as the highest run-scorer after scoring 741 runs with the help of a century and five fifties.


Navjot Singh Sidhu India National Cricket Team Virat Kohli Rohit Sharma Yashasvi Jaiswal ICC T20 World Cup