Former India opener, Virender Sehwag opines that the Kolkata Knight Riders should make changes at the top bringing in pinch-hitter like Sunil Narine or Rahul Tripathi to partner with Shubman Gill so as to give him the time to settle.
Virender Sehwag’s comments came after Gill ran himself out against the Rajasthan Royals after both Gill and Nitish Rana struggled for boundaries in the powerplay. The right-hander got run-out looking for a quick single for a 19-ball 11.
Virender Sehwag observes that Gill is not a hard-hitter of the ball and finds it difficult to hit boundaries regularly in the powerplay – so he suggests a change in his opening partner to someone with more attacking proclivity than Rana.
“See, I feel he’s a long-format player like the ODIs and Tests. In T20s, one has to hit boundaries at will. Either this or you play a role where you don’t have to hit boundaries but just play safely at one end,” Virender Sehwag told Cricbuzz.
“That’s why I suggest that KKR put him at one end and push Nitish Rana at 4 and open with Sunil Narine or Rahul Tripathi who can cash in on the powerplay for Shubman Gill. Because if Shubman Gill can play out the first six overs he can easily hit boundaries against the likes of (Rahul) Tewatia and Shivam Dube,” he added.
KKR can drop Gill, promote Narine and Russell: Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag even goes on to recommends dropping Gill altogether, and promote the likes of Narine and Andre Russell up the order – Russell came to bat in at the 16th over and couldn’t get going – since it is extremely difficult to make it to the playoffs after winning just 1 game in 5 matches.
After the highs of Test cricket, the youngster is suffering a dip in scores in the IPL – he has scored 80 runs in 5 innings, and has failed to convert on his starts.
“His role should be something like last year, where he hogs at one end, and Sunil Narine, Rahul Tripathi, and Andre Russell hit boundaries at will from the other end. If not, then there’s only one solution: he has played 5-6 matches, KKR should sit him out and try to find a replacement.
“KKR should now think as they have already lost the tournament and focus on making some new changes. This could be promoting Sunil Narine or Andre Russell in the batting order, which are strategies that have worked for them in the past and might work again,” the 42-year-old former opener concluded.
With the loss to the Royals on Saturday, Eoin Morgan’s side is pushed to the bottom of the table. They have completed their Mumbai leg and travel to Ahmedabad where they will next face KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings on Monday.