Aakash Chopra has shared his wishlist about Team India ahead of the T20 World Cup warm-up game against England. It includes KL Rahul batting at the top of the order alongside Rohit Sharma.
The 15-member Indian squad has multiple opening spot options in Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Ishan Kishan. Skipper Virat Kohli had also expressed his wish to bat at the top of the order after India’s home series last match against England.
Aakash Chopra: Now That KL Rahul Is Firing And Running Better, He Should Open Alongside Rohit Sharma
While reflecting on India’s opening conundrum, in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that KL Rahul is in better touch than Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
“The first thing is the batting order, who is going to open? Last time when they played, Rohit and Kohli had opened, and both had hit a lot and the talk started to make them open because Rahul was not making runs at that time. But now Rahul is firing. He is not walking; he is running and running better than Rohit and Virat.”
While picking Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as his two openers, Aakash Chopra wants KL Rahul to be carefree and bat in a fearless approach.
“So, please get Rohit and Rahul to open. Virat Kohli at No.3, I want to see how Surya is batting. I want the carefree and fearless approach from Rahul. I want the big innings from Rohit because he is only showing the trailer, we haven’t seen the picture for a long time in white-ball cricket.”
KL Rahul brought his explosive side to the fore in the Punjab Kings’ last match of IPL 2021 against the Chennai Super Kings. Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma got off to starts but did not play substantial knocks in the UAE leg of the tournament.
KL Rahul scored 626 runs from 13 innings in IPL 2021 while opening the batting for Punjab Kings and his last innings against Chennai Super Kings was breathtaking. The Punjab skipper smashed an unbeaten 98 off 42 balls with seven fours and eight sixes that took his overall strike rate to 138.30 at the end of the tournament.
The 23-year-old Ishan Kishan scored 84 off 32 balls and 50 not out off 25 balls at the top of the order in the final two games for Mumbai Indians, but it went in vain as the defending champions were knocked out of play-offs due to inferior net run-rate compared to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Aakash Chopra: If Hardik Pandya Is Unable To Bowl, Batting Order Will Be Changed Entirely
While naming Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya as his finishers, Aakash Chopra highlighted the question marks about the latter’s ability to bowl, though.
“Virat Kohli should continue playing the way he is playing. He anyways plays very well in the World Cup. I will keep Rishabh Pant at No.5, Hardik Pandya at No.6, and that’s my big question – Hardik Pandya’s bowling.”
Aakash Chopra pointed out: “If Hardik Pandya is bowling, we are all happy. You will have to change your batting order entirely if Hardik Pandya is not bowling. How will you do that, I am unable to understand.”
Aakash Chopra concluded by saying that Team India will have a formidable look if Hardik Pandya is at his best both with bat and ball, which wasn’t on show in the recently concluded IPL 2021.
He reasoned: “Hardik Pandya at No.6 is only possible if you get him to bowl and he scores runs because he has not scored runs. If he is there at No.6 and Jaddu at No.7, you will have six bowling options and two rocket batsmen at No.6 and No.7.”
Team India will have their task cut out if Hardik Pandya can’t bowl. They would either have to bat Ravindra Jadeja at No.6 if they want an extra bowling option or hope that the five frontline bowlers would do the job.