Just three months before the World T20, India has taken a punt with Suryakumar Yadav as an opener in West Indies. The tactic seems to have worked, as the right-handed batter has notched up 24, 11, and 76 so far in the five-match Twenty20 series, which makes one wonder if there will be a fresh opening pair in Australia.
The constant swapping at the top might hurt the side ahead of the T20 showpiece event, but former skipper MS Dhoni promoted Rohit Sharma almost a decade ago, which remains one of India’s greatest gambles in world cricket. At present, Rohit, the all-format skipper of the Indian team, is regarded among the most skilled batters in contemporary cricket, having scored three double centuries in the 50-over format.
In the warm-up game before the 2013 Champions Trophy, Karthik scored an unbeaten 146 against the quality pace attack of Australia and earned the right to make the playing eleven. The seasoned wicketkeeper-batter secured the No.4 spot, while the Rohit opened alongside Shikhar Dhawan as part of India’s opening gamble for the marquee competition in England.
Former India fielding coach R Sridhar has talked about Dhoni’s move that certainly paid off well for Indian cricket. He revealed how the former skipper was keen on elevating Rohit up the order.
“There was one decision made by Dhoni in 2013 Champions Trophy to send Rohit to open. Dinesh (Karthik) was batting so well in the practice games but Rohit had to play… so the management then, mostly captain Dhoni, found a spot for Rohit at the top of the order. That was a brilliant move,” Sridhar told cricket.com.
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Dhoni showed faith in Rohit’s abilities, which eventually led to the ‘Hitman’ becoming one of the top-five run-scorers of the tournament. Rohit scored 177 runs from five matches and played with an average of 35.40.
Sridhar also lauded Suryakumar Yadav’s inclusion in the current 20-over set-up and pointed out how Shreyas Iyer fits at the No.3 spot when Virat Kohli is absent from the eleven.
“A move that we made in T20s was Surya coming into the team a couple of years ago against England. He has shown how good he is. Shreyas (Iyer) is back at No.3, which is where he should be if Virat (Kohli) is not playing,” Sridhar added.
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