Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly.
Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly. Image Credit: X

With just a couple of days to go before India’s opening fixture against Ireland, in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, the question arises whether Virat Kohli should be opening the batting for the inaugural champions of the tournament.

Earlier, former India batter Wasim Jaffer informed his view towards Kohli opening with Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Suryakumar Yadav batting at number three, while Rohit Sharma getting dropped at number four, given he plays the spin bowlers so well, and that will be beneficial for the team.

Virat Kohli is coming into the world event, after opening the batting for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in the recent Indian Premier League, where he smashed 741 runs in 15 games at a strike rate of 154.69, to finish as the highest run-getter of the tournament.

‘I want Virat Kohli to bat the way…’ – Sourav Ganguly

The former India captain is the highest run-getter of the T20 World Cup history, with 1141 runs at an average of 81.50 and a strike rate of 131.30, with 14 fifties, as he look to be in a different touch in the ICC tournament of the format.

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Former India captain, Sourav Ganguly feels India should let Kohli to bat with freedom, and with only two fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the first six overs, that will be the ask, and Virat Kohli could easily do the job of going after the bowlers.

‘I would open with Virat (Kohli) and Rohit (Sharma). I want Virat to bat the way he did for RCB in the second half of the IPL. He has to bat with freedom. Needless to say, he is a great player, but for India to do well, Virat Kohli will have to bat with freedom like he did in the IPL. So, my choice would be Virat and Rohit at the top of the order,” Former left-hand opener Sourav Ganguly advised in a recent interview with Revsportz.

Kohli has batted for India at the opening position for five time, nailing 400 T20I runs at an average of 57.1 and a strike rate of 161.3, with a couple of half-centuries ad a best score of 122 against Afghanistan. When it comes to be comfortable position at number three, Virat Kohli has nailed 3076 T20I runs at an average of 54.9 and a strike rate of nearly 135, with 32 half-centuries.

Given he would be opening with Rohit Sharma as the former BCCI president wants, India will have their two most experienced  players at the top to give them a great platform.

‘Absolutely, I do,” Ganguly expressed when asked about his feeling whether India have a chance for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the West Indie and the United States of America.

‘The team has a number of quality players and are going into the tournament on the back of some serious T20 cricket in the form of the IPL. That should help them in New York. What will also go in their favour are the bigger grounds, and it will help our spinners, for example. In a World Cup, you can never rule out India just because of the simple reason there is a lot of quality in the team,” 51-year-old remarked in the same interview.

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When he was asked about India’s fast bowling group, Ganguly was quick to answer that in his view, India’s pacers will love the tracks of those grounds, and the pitches in the Caribbean wouldn’t be anywhere near the IPL.

‘I am not really worried. Again, you have to consider the nature of pitches in the IPL, the ground dimensions and the conditions on offer for the fast bowlers.  The World Cup will be very different, and the conditions in the West Indies will not be anywhere near the IPL. Our bowlers shouldn’t have an issue in the World Cup is my assumption,” Ganguly believed.

India will play their one and only warm-up fixture against Bangladesh on June 01, at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, in New York.