Aakash Chopra wants Rohit-Virat to open in ICC T20 World Cup 2024


New Delhi [India]: Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra wants senior Indian batters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to open during the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA, saying that the pitches at the venue will be such that there will be better chances at scoring runs in the first six overs of the innings.

Rohit and Virat will be playing together in a T20I match for the first time in over one year since India’s crushing loss to England in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 when they meet Afghanistan in the second T20I at Indore on Sunday. India leads the series 1-0.

The T20 WC will be held this year from June onwards.

On his Youtube channel, Aakash said that Virat takes his time during his innings and scores really well while following his template of dominating after a cautious start. But in T20Is, he is able to score at a great strike rate in the powerplay. If the team management wants to go ahead with them as openers, they should start with the Afghanistan series, he added.

“If you see the entire World Cup, Virat Kohli has a playing style and he scores a lot of runs when he follows that template. Even in T20s, he rarely starts hitting fours and sixes from the first ball. He takes his time. If he has to run at a strike rate of 150, he does that in the powerplay,” said Aakash.

Virat opens the innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has had great success with them. In the nine matches he has opened for India, Virat has scored 400 runs at an average of 57.14, with a century and three fifties. His strike rate as an opener is also 161.29, which is way higher than his career strike rate of over 137 in T20Is.

“In New York or the West Indies, the pitches will be such that there will be more chances of runs getting scored in the first six overs. So ideally, you want Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to be together from the start. If you have to follow that template, start it now,” he added.

Chopra talked about how the team management said that Yashasvi Jaiswal is their first-choice opener ahead of Shubman Gill and if they decide to persist with him, it would mean playing Virat at number three and number one-ranked T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav at number four. Chopra disapproved of the idea of batting Suryakumar at number four, as he wants him to get more game time.

“You are talking about keeping Yashasvi Jaiswal or Shubman Gill. You wanted to play Gill at number 3. He opened in the last match because Yashasvi was not there, but that is neither your long-term plan nor you have thought anything about it. You already said that Yashasvi is your first opener alongside Rohit and not Gill,” said Chopra.

“So if Yashasvi is available, you will get him to open. However, if you get Yashasvi to open, my problem is not only about Kohli at number three. I do not want to keep Suryakumar Yadav at number four. I want him at number one. Suryakumar Yadav is India’s number-one T20 batter. So I want him at number 3 and I want to give him time to drive the game,” he added. 

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