The former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has questioned the move of Rohit Sharma to move down the order during Indian Premier League as he has said that now the batsman might find difficult to straightway go and open the inning alongside Shikhar Dhawan in Champions Trophy,

“When you’re an opener, you should play at the top. I always feel that the best players should play the first 50 or 20 overs. If they are getting to play after eight or 10 overs in T20 or after 30 overs in the 50-over format, it’s of no use. Rohit is a good player and I was very surprised that he was batting between No. 3 to No. 5. What was he doing?” Azharuddin said on the sidelines of Mumbai selection camp for True Premier League.

Rohit, who got injured during the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand last year made a comeback to domestic cricket in March and played last two games for Mumbai in Vijay Hazare Trophy. He was selected for Deodhar Trophy but a knee injury ruled him out of the tournament. Rohit though has proved his fitness in IPL as playing 14 games for a period of one and half month requires fitness and rigorous schedule.

Still, he will have a big challenge to straightaway go and emulate his previous performance of Champions Trophy 2013 where he scored 177 runs in five games at an average of 35.40. He along with Dhawan got good starts for the team, laying a strong base for big totals.

Azhar, who scored a total of 1122 runs in 30 innings across all formats of the game at an average of 48.78 in England, said that the openers will have a key role in the tournament and will decide the course of the game,

“If the openers give a good start, we can reach 275-280. In English conditions, with the ball moving and overcast skies, that’s a good score. In England (performance of openers) matters a lot because if you expose your No. 3 or No. 4 or No. 5 batsmen early, you might not do well.”

Indian selectors trusted Dhawan and Rohit for the job again and surely they have the pressure to do well as the team comprises of a back-up opener in form of Ajinkya Rahane, who will walk in the team in case of any of the players not doing well in the tournament.

Indian team kick off their quest of retaining the cup with first game against Pakistan on June 4 at Edgbaston

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