Former India batsman, Sanjay Manjrekar says that the team management’s decision to not open with Ishan Kishan in the third T20I against England on Tuesday, after the left-hander blasting a fifty in the second game, is incomprehensible.
As Rohit Sharma returned to the eleven, after being rested for the first couple of matches, Ishan Kishan, who made his T20I debut in the second game as an opener, was dropped to number 3, with skipper Virat Kohli and the rest of the batters dropping one position – Suryakumar Yadav, who was also handed his debut in the second T20I, was excluded from the playing eleven.
India has tried three opening combinations in three matches this series, with Rahul being the constant. Ahead of the series, Shikhar Dhawan opened with Rahul in the first game; the left-hander was dropped after his scratchy innings of 4 runs off 12 balls paving way for Ishan Kishan. As Rohit returned to the side, and with Kohli having declared Rohit-Rahul as the first-choice opening combination, the southpaw was shifted to number three spot.
Taking to Twitter, Sanjay Manjrekar expresses his surprise at Ishan Kishan not opening again on Tuesday after having sparkled with a Man of the Match worthy 32-ball-56 on debut on Sunday.
“After a sensational debut as a T20 opener that Ishan is not opening in the next game is just beyond me!” tweeted Sanjay Manjrekar
After a sensational debut as a T20 opener that Ishan is not opening in the next game is just beyond me! #INDvENG
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) March 16, 2021
KL Rahul will continue to be one of our main batters at the top of the order: Virat Kohli
While Ishan Kishan is staking a claim for the opener’s role for the T20 World Cup, KL Rahul has hit a lean patch with scores of 1, 0, and 0 in the three games. However, Virat Kohli has thrown his weight behind the Punjab Kings skipper.
The skipper says that in a volatile format as T20 cricket, a batsman would need just a few good balls to turn things around – Kohli himself was in a rough patch until a couple of games ago bagging consecutive ducks, but came back to form with two terrific half-centuries. He points out that Rahul has been in tremendous form for the past couple of years, and will be given a longer rope.
“I was going through a lean patch 2 games ago. These things turn around very quickly. He’s been a champion player for us. If you look at his numbers in the last 2-3 years, they’re probably better than anyone else in T20 cricket. He’ll continue to be one of our main batters along with Rohit at the top of the order, so we don’t have any concerns there.
“T20 is a very instinctive game and we know once he starts playing positively and a few shots come off, then it’s a matter of 5-6 balls in this format and suddenly you’re back into that zone,” the skipper backs KL Rahul.