Cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar dissected team India’s top three in the batting order in the build-up to the T20 World Cup later in the year.
The Indian team have explored various opening combinations and No.3 in their last few bilateral series. Captain Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul opened the batting order in the T20 World Cup last year and followed the same in the New Zealand T20I series.
India’s opening pairs in T20Is so far
With Rahul’s injuries keeping him out of the action for more than eight months, Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad got their opportunity at the top. The duo opened together for India in the five-match T20I series against South Africa. Ishan paired with Rohit to open the innings in the first T20I against England, while wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant joined the Indian skipper in the last two games.
India saw an unlikely opener in the face of Suryakumar Yadav during the West Indies T20I series. Many experts criticised the Indian team management for changing Suryakumar’s batting position. It was Shreyas Iyer and Ishan opening the order in the final T20I.
Virat Kohli, Iyer, and Deepak Hooda are the contenders to bat at No.3 with Suryakumar most likely to bat at No.4.
Love the idea of Rishabh Pant opening with Rohit Sharma: Sanjay Manjrekar
Manjrekar was asked about India’s top three combinations for the T20 World Cup, the former Indian batter didn’t have a straight response for it, but was delighted to watch Rishabh Pant open the innings in England.
“Not answering that. It’s a tough one, really tough because there are some serious contenders there. That’s why these matches before the T20 World Cup are so important. KL Rahul has to be part of the T20 team. So has to be Virat Kohli just because of the stage and the pressure that comes in. It’s going to be a tough one. We have seen Suryakumar Yadav bat in the top three, we have seen Rishabh Pant bat in the top three. These are all very exciting options, so let’s see how it goes,” Manjrekar said on Sports18.
“I love that idea of Rishabh Pant opening with Rohit Sharma. So that is something I am excited about, the possibility is there. It’s such a difficult one. You have got Virat Kohli, you have got KL Rahul, you have got Suryakumar Yadav and I think these are the three serious contenders. I am stumped,” he added.
KL Rahul and Virat Kohli will return to India’s squad in the Asia Cup at the end of the month. Rahul and Rohit could reunite at the top with Kohli at No.3 for the continental tournament.