Sarandeep Singh, the former selector, called the experienced opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan the “best option” despite skipper Virat Kohli’s recent interest in the opening slot as he suggests who India should stick to as openers in the T20 World Cup.
Sarandeep Singh, whose term as selector ended with India’s historic win in Australia earlier this year, also gave his take on split captaincy, asserting the issue was never even discussed in his time as Virat Kohli performed in all three formats and the issue doesn’t arise irrespective of him not leading his IPL franchise RCB to a title win.
Sarandeep Singh: India May Try Out Options But Left Hand And Right Hand Combination Of Shikhar Dhawan And Rohit Sharma Is The Best Option
After the T20 series win against England, Virat Kohli had said he will open in the IPL raising the possibility of him opening with Rohit Sharma in the World Cup. Shikhar Dhawan was dropped after the opening game of the series and Ishan Kishan was picked ahead of him in one of the games. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma opened in the final T20 after KL Rahul’s failure as an opener in the first 4 T20Is.
“It was surprising. He (Dhawan) did well in the IPL, he did well in Australia. Whenever he plays he performs. He is mentally very strong. May be they want to try out options but in my view the left-hand right-hand combination of Rohit and Dhawan is the best option for the India at World Cup,” Sarandeep Singh told PTI.
“You can’t judge him on basis of one match. He did well in ODIs after that. The IPL will decide a lot of the team. There are no easy places in the team. Ishan Kishan too will need to do exceptionally well to make the team,” he added.
He also said that KL Rahul should continue keeping in the ODIs and the in-form Rishabh Pant will have to wait for his turn when Shreyas Iyer returns.
Sarandeep Singh Opens Up On Spin Trio And Split Captaincy
The IPL beginning April 9 will decide the bulk of the spots for the World Cup squad and Sarandeep Singh feels Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who became India’s go-to pair in the middle overs after the 2017 Champions Trophy, are no more sure starters in the T20 or ODI format. Kuldeep Yadav has also lost his place in the T20 squad.
“The two spinners can still do the job. They are proper spinners. Once Ravindra Jadeja is back from injury, the trio remains the best option in limited overs format,” Sarandeep said.
“Kuldeep, for example, has not got a lot of opportunities and seems down on confidence. Chahal was also replaced in the recent T20s against England by Rahul Chahar and did not play the following ODIs. Though there is a lot of competition, Chahal and Kuldeep should play together. They have still have a lot of potential,” said Sarandeep, who played three Tests and five ODIs for India.
Rishabh Pant has surpassed Wriddhiman Saha as the number one keeper in Tests by excellent performances with the bat and has also become the preferred option in T20s following his stellar success in all three formats in the last four months.
“No praise will be enough for Pant. He had some fitness issues, worked on that and worked on his shot selection. He was out of the team which was good for him. There is a right time and right ball to hit. The way he played in Australia, it shows he has gained a lot of experience. He is picking and choosing.”
“He can give you 10 years in Test cricket, Saha cannot and has become the number one choice. In ODIs, Shreyas got injured so Rishabh played. When he is back, KL should be the wicketkeeper because he has been keeping wickets for a long time and is doing a fine job.”
Sarandeep Singh also believes there is no place for Krunal Pandya in the ODI team if Hardik Pandya is not bowling.
“If we talk about ODIs, if Hardik is not bowling, Krunal can’t be your fifth bowler. He batted beautifully but Krunal can’t give you 10 overs.. So, if Krunal plays, Hardik needs to bowl. If one bowler is hit or injured there is no extra option if Hardik doesn’t bowl. His workload has to be managed too but you have to play proper bowlers,” the 41-year-old former off-spinner added.
On the issue of split captaincy, Sarandeep Singh said it was not even discussed in his tenure.
“Spilt captaincy is needed when your captain is not performing but he (Kohli) is the only player to average more than 50 in all formats. If he isn’t performing in one format you can take the leadership pressure off him and give it to someone else. Just because he has not won an IPL you can’t remove him from India captaincy. “
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are placed 3rd as leading run-getters in ODIs with 4978 runs only behind Sachin Tendulkar- Sourav Ganguly (6609 runs) and Adam Gilchrist- Matthew Hayden (5310 runs).