Aakash Chopra believes Team India should have given middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav and all-rounder aggressive batsman Hardik Pandya more time in the middle by making them bat ahead of Rishabh Pant in the warm-up match against England.
Team India registered an easy seven-wicket win in their first warm-up match against strong England ahead of the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup. While KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, and Rishabh Pant shone with the bat, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya did not get to face too many deliveries.
Aakash Chopra Questioned Decision To Send Rishabh Pant Ahead Of Suryakumar Yadav And Hardik Pandya
While reflecting on India’s successful run chase in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra questioned Team India’s decision to send Rishabh Pant ahead of Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya.
He elaborated: “There was a big question in my mind that when Ishan was batting well, why did you send Rishabh Pant. End of the day, Surya made 8 runs off 9 balls, neither the form came nor went, you don’t know what really happened. Hardik Pandya, the shots he played, all balls were not hitting the middle of the bat, and once again a story which is unfinished.”
The former India cricketer highlighted that both Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya needed a longer stint in the middle. Aakash Chopra reasoned that they needed more game time.
“You did not have a need to send Rishabh Pant there, you could have sent Suryakumar Yadav and then Hardik Pandya so that both of them would have got some game time. Rishabh Pant had scored runs just now in the IPL as well.”
Aakash Chopra: Undoubtedly KL Rahul Should Open
Speaking about some of the positives for Team India, Aakash Chopra opined that KL Rahul is head and shoulders above any other Indian batsman.
“The captain has said that Rahul is going to open and there is no doubt that Rahul should open. In my opinion, he is India’s best T20 batsman at this point in time, nobody comes close.”
The 44-year-old commentator concluded by stating that Ishan Kishan is unlikely to be a part of Team India’s playing XI despite his exploits with the bat.
“If you are speculating if Ishan can open or come in the middle order, you didn’t make him bat in the middle order and there is no place where you made him bat. I think Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are your two openers however well Ishan Kishan might bat.”
Virat Kohli has already confirmed that KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma will bat at the top of the order for Team India. Kishan could play at the expense of Suryakumar Yadav or Hardik Pandya in the middle order, especially if the latter is not fit to resume bowling.
While Ishan Kishan smashed 70 off 46 balls, KL Rahul made a blazing 51 off 24. The duo featured in an opening stand of 82 in 8.2 overs as India chased down a target of 189 with ease, winning the clash by seven wickets. Ishan Kishan’s 70 off 46 balls was studded with 7 fours and 3 sixes, and his strike rate was 152.17.
Ishan Kishan retired on 70, after which Rishabh Pant (29 not out) and Hardik Pandya (12 not out) took India past the finish line in 19 overs. KL Rahul was equally impressive, smashing six fours and three sixes. His strike rate was a monumental 212.5-the best of the Indian innings as it came off only 24 balls.