Brad Hogg, a former Australian cricketer has picked Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma as the openers for Team India for the upcoming T20 World Cup slated later in 2021. The duo opened together in the last T20I of a five-match series against England earlier this year.
Brad Hogg believes promoting Virat Kohli up the order will allow India to bring in more attacking players in the middle order. Virat Kohli had announced his decision to open in T20Is after his match-winning 80 not out against England in the final T20I in Ahmedabad.
Brad Hogg Reckons Virat Kohli And Rohit Sharma Opening Batting In The Forthcoming T20I World Cup
Virat Kohli decided to promote himself in the batting order of the Indian team as India took on England in the fifth T20I. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma brought carnage to the crease and stitched a match-winning 94-run opening stand to help India amass 224 for 2, their highest total against England.
India had been struggling at the top of the order with KL Rahul scoring 1,0,0, 14 in the first four T20Is, but Virat Kohli had backed incumbent opener, KL Rahul, to come well up until the final match as his patience finally ran out with the Karnataka batsman.
He stated: “My Indian team going into the T20 World Cup would have Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma opening the batting. I might be a bit harsh on Shikhar Dhawan but they need some attacking players in the middle-order and so they need to push Kohli up the order.”
Smashing a half-century on his T20I debut, Mumbai Indians in form batsman Suryakumar Yadav proved that he is here to stay. His sensational run for Mumbai Indians in the IPL convinced Brad Hogg to select him at No.3. At No.4, the 50-year-old former spinner feels KL Rahul should be backed despite his indifferent form of late.
“I have Suryakumar Yadav, a youngster to international cricket, at No.3. I think his versatility is going to add a bit of spice to that batting line-up. KL Rahul is the prime runner for the No.4 spot,” Brad Hogg asserted.
Brad Hogg went with an explosive choice, selecting Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja in the lower middle-order. He feels there is enough firepower in the trio to provide India with a big match-winning finish.
He added: “Coming in at No.5 is Rishabh Pant and I would keep him as a floater. If there is a wicket falling in the seventh over, I would send him up the order at dominate against spin. I would have Hardik Pandya at No.6 and Ravindra Jadeja at No.7.”
Brad Hogg believes only one among wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal would be selected in the playing XI. He feels the tour of Sri Lanka might determine who plays.
Brad Hogg Picks Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, And Jasprit Bumrah Should Be The Pacers In T20I World Cup
As far as the pacers are concerned, Brad Hogg feels India’s best new-ball combination would be Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur as both can swing the ball. He concluded his XI by picking star pacer Jasprit Bumrah as the No.11.
“If Kuldeep Yadav does well in Sri Lanka, having a left-arm wrist-spinner could be a point of difference. But at the moment, Chahal is the number one spinner. Someone like a Thakur could get an opportunity due to his explosive batting and he is also good in the powerplay and at the death. Then you got Bhuvi and then Bumrah,” Brad Hogg signed off.
Brad Hogg omitted the likes of Mohammed Shami who is another bowler who may be part of India’s squad in the ICC T20I World Cup 2021. He was injured during the Australia Test series but made a comeback in IPL 2021 for Punjab Kings. He picked 8 wickets in 8 matches and was effective with his bouncers and yorkers while bowling.
He also omitted pacer Deepak Chahar, who last played in the T20I series against Australia last year, in which he picked 1 wicket in 2 matches.
However, the right-arm pacer was brilliant during IPL 2021, picking 8 wickets in 7 matches. Another option, T Natarajan made his T20I debut against Australia last year in which he emerged as the highest wicket-taker with 6 wickets in 3 matches. With his ability to bowl yorkers effectively, T Natarajan is a force to reckon with.