Rohit Sharma is an automatic pick for the opener’s slot in the 2023 ODI World Cup but who is the best fit to partner him is something that will be answered over the course of the next 12 months. The 2023 World Cup is still less than a year away but all participating teams are already planning what their perfect XI is going to be.
For India, it’s a problem of plenty as finalizing a squad with so many promising youngsters and established seniors could cause a few selections headaches. The one position that has always been up for debate is that of the opener.
Rohit Sharma Should Be Obviously Partnered By Shikhar Dhawan As Opener: JP Duminy
Former South Africa batter JP Duminy, however, knows his pick to partner Rohit Sharma. JP Duminy feels that although the competition is stiff for the position, he would go with Shikhar Dhawan, due to his solid record and consistency in ODIs.
At 36, Shikhar Dhawan is in the twilight of his career. Last July, he led a second-string Indian side to Sri Lanka and hoped to utilize the tour to make his place “stronger” for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Shikhar Dhawan has stepped up his T20 game in the last couple of years, but the selectors preferred Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Ishan Kishan as their openers for the global tournament, before the unceremonious exit at the group stage of the T20I WC made the selectors bring back Shikhar Dhawan for South Africa ODIs.
In the 1st ODI against the Proteas, on a sluggish wicket, he scored 79 off 84 to keep India on track in the chase and showed he can still thrive under pressure, but his effort went in vain as the middle order batsmen faltered again.
The pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has proved to be a fruitful alliance for India, having scored 4978 runs in 110 innings in partnerships. This is the fourth-highest of all time and second-highest for India after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
“He has been prolific for India in this format since 2019. So that’s a long period of time and if anyone is doing it as consistently as he is, you would think it would be given that he would be opening the batting for India at the World Cup. I think the question mark is always going to be who is going to be his partner. And I think it’s an obvious one in Rohit Sharma,” JP Duminy said.
In the last three years, Shikhar Dhawan has been in great nick in the 50-over format, scoring 1194 runs in 28 matches at a healthy average of 49.75 including two centuries and nine fifties.
At the same time, his form in T20Is has taken a dip with 527 runs from 22 games. Based on such impressive numbers, JP Duminy has no doubt that the Shikhar Dhawan-Rohit Sharma pair will open for India at next year’s World Cup and expects the left-handed batter to score heavily for India.
JP Duminy: KL Rahul Has Played Well In The Middle Order And Should Bat There
JP Duminy added that KL Rahul, who is also fighting for the opening slot, should bat in the middle order.
“Where does a KL Rahul slot in. We have seen him play really well in that middle order. So whose place does he take? I get that those are the questions and conditions are going to be the question mark around that. Dhawan, as we highlighted, has been prolific.”
“Not only from 2019, but he has also been consistent for a long period of time. He certainly warrants that position and I am pretty sure he is going to be there scoring runs for India,” JP Duminy pointed out.
Rohit Sharma, India’s white-ball captain is recovering well from his left hamstring injury and has a bright chance of making a comeback for the six-match home limited-overs series against the West Indies next month. The series against the West Indies comprises three ODIs and as many T20 internationals. The one-dayers will be played from February 6 to 12, followed by the T20Is from February 15 to 20.
Rohit Sharma has scored 7238 runs as an ODI opener with an average of 57.44 in 141 matches. This includes 27 centuries and 31 half-centuries. He also holds the record of three double tons as an ODI opener.
His highest score of 264 still seems unbreakable. He achieved this milestone against Sri Lanka in 2014. The first double ton came against Australia in 2013 where he scored 209 runs in an innings. He hit the third double hundred when he was the captain during the match against Sri Lanka in 2017.