Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for India.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for India. Image Credit: X

Even though India has been doing quite well in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA), the concern for them in the opening stand between their two most senior members Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, both of whom are going through lean patch.

In five innings, the India captain has managed 99 runs, at an average of 24.75 and a strike rate of 125.31, including one half-century that came against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

On the other hand, Virat Kohli has nailed only 66 runs in five innings, at an average of 13.20 and a strike rate of 108.19, with a best score of 37 that came in the last game against Bangladesh at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

The opening stand for India hasn’t clicked at all, until the last game, where Rohit launched a few big shots from the start, but Virat Kohli took too much time at the start. The duo together is yet to perform for the side.

Virender Sehwag feels Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma would be under the radar

In the very first game, against Ireland, in the group stage, Rohit batted brilliantly before being injured and left the field, Kohli danced down the track to nail the over for a big shot, but the swing took the outside edge of his blade and ended into the hands of the third man fielder.

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The Pakistan game in New York was a great stage for them. Rohit started brilliantly in an aggressive mindset as he whacked Shaheen Shah Afridi for a boundary. Virat Kohli too drove Naseem Shah for a beautiful four to start his account, but he cut the very next ball away from his body to find the fielder.

Rohit, on the other hand, found the fielder in the deep region to as them met another failure in the tournament. When they faced the USA and were chasing a low score of 111, the aim and wish was to see both of them starting off well. But Kohli edged his very first ball to Saurabh Netravalkar, while Rohit used his feet but failed to get the right elevation.

In the very first super-eight stage of the competition against Afghanistan in Barbados, Rohit looked out of touch even on a good surface, as he went back to the hut cheaply. The former India captain took his time to judge the condition and the pace of the pitch but was sent back on 24 runs at run-a-ball which eventually didn’t help the team much.

The game against Bangladesh was different. The India captain took his chances and got a few shots from the middle of the willow, to reach 23 runs in 10 balls, before a mis-execution of the shot saw him finding the fielder and getting out. Virat Kohli stayed for a bit longer, for his 37 runs in 28 balls, consisting of three sixes and one four.

Now the opening stand comes under pressure as the big matches arrive before them. The question holds whether they can get success against Australia in a good St Lucia surface.

‘The top two (Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli) are not scoring runs, but (the batters) coming down have saved you. Nonetheless, except Pakistan, you haven’t played any such match where you feel if the openers or middle order aren’t scoring, the match could be lost.’ The former India opener Virender Sehwag expressed on Cricbuzz.

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He also feels that if the openers don’t fire in the rest of the tournament, then the selectors may need to think about their strategy for another time.

‘So this thing is going, even after them (the openers not scoring runs). But that’s a point to be discussed. Rohit Sharma has only one fifty, while Virat Kohli has a few.’ The veteran India batter Virender Sehwag reflected. ‘So no matter how much we call them big match players, at the end, they too need to score the runs. If not, then at the end of this World Cup, the selectors may need to think.’

India’s last T20I game in the ‘super eight’ stage is on June 24 against Australia.