Former India captain, Sunil Gavaskar opines that Team India got their tactic right against England in the 5th T20I by giving its ‘best batsman’ Virat Kohli the opportunity to face the maximum number of balls while sending him to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma. The duo added 94 runs for the opening stand in just 8.6 overs laying a platform for India’s series win.
Sunil Gavaskar reckons KL Rahul’s dismal form – 15 runs in 4 games – came as a ‘blessing in disguise’ – his 14 off 17 balls in the 4th T20I, where Kohli was batting at number 4, triggered the skipper’s move to the top. Sunil Gavaskar also pointed out how Sachin Tendulkar’s promotion from middle-order to the opener in ODIs in 1994 changed not only Tendulkar’s career but the entire history of Indian cricket.
“Your best batsman should bat the most number of overs in limited-overs cricket. So it was very important for Virat Kohli to bat at the top of the order. So maybe, KL Rahul’s loss of form has been a blessing in disguise because this has given us an opening combination to look forward to,” Sunil Gavaskar told India Today.
“Like when Sachin Tendulkar was batting down the order in ODIs and then he was sent up to open the batting and what a transformation it had not just on his batting but the whole team. So clearly, your best batsman have to bat as many overs as they can,” he added.
It becomes easier for the guys coming down the order: Sunil Gavaskar
The 71-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator suggests the Men In Blue continue with this new opening pair of Sharma-Kohli. He says that both the right-handers complement each other and know their game very well; it will also provide a solid foundation for the middle-order batters to keep the attacking momentum.
“I would persist with this opening formula. Look at the way they fed off each other. You could see the interaction between the two of them, whenever each of them got the big shot going.
“When that happens, when two leaders of the team show the way, it becomes easier for the guys coming down the order. With Suryakumar Yadav, in India colours and playing those camoes, it’s really good,” the former opener asserted.
The 3-match ODI series begins on Tuesday at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.