Rohit Sharma has been injured during NZ ODI series and has been out of action since then. He was ruled out from both, Test and limited-over series against England. Fortunately, Impact of his absence wasn’t felt much in test series. But in limited over’s format, his absence has hurt the team badly. With Shikar out of form, Rahane couldn’t adapt his game to limited over’s game and on the other side KL Rahul finding his feet in early days of his career, Indian opening pair has been in shambles scoring just cumulative of 37 runs in recently concluded ODI series where on an average 650 runs were scored in every game combining both teams total.
It is evident that KL Rahul has the backing of Indian captain and management, as he is just 24 and has shown his potential in recent past. So he has been given a long rope. But the horror show in ODI series has cost Dhawan and Rahane their place in the t20 as they were left out of 15 member squad. This decision has lead to a precarious situation as Indian team had one opener short in their squad and Virat had to step-up to and face the new ball test in 1st t20.
When questioned about the decision, Virat has replied
“I open in IPL and that is a T20 tournament. So I have an idea (of how to go about it) and that is why I went to open. I did not go there to look special. Everyone anyway was expecting that. My opening gives more balance to the team.”
Further to that when asked if he would reconsider the decision for next game, the skipper replied
“This is just a case of Rohit not being there and because I have opened in IPL so I have a fair idea of providing balance and it also gives someone else opportunity rather than me batting at three. You can’t ask someone to open if he has not done it in the past. It would be unfair to him.”
Virat then went on to acknowledge that the team is expecting more from the opening batter after another failure from KL Rahul in 1st t20
“Obviously, it is one area we need to work on. All teams want their openers to fire. But you also need to understand that it is difficult to get (a lot of) openers of international standards and that is why you have to back the openers that you have for some time. We will continue to back them because they have performed in the past.”
Thus it was evident from his statement that Rohit will be back on top once he returns and Rahul will accompany him.
But of all the four opening option India have tried and tested in last 3 years are so none of them have been very consistent for more than a short duration. As of now, Rohit is missed no doubt, but his recent record post Aus tour of 2016 doesn’t look all well does it?
2016 T20 World CUP Record:
|Matches 5||Innings 5||Not out 0||Runs 88||High Scr 43||Average 17.60||BF 82||S.R 107.31|
NZ series 2016-2017:
|Matches5||Innings 5||Not out 0||Runs 123||High Scr 70||Average 24.60||BF 158||S.R 77.84|
The above stats at least shows that even if Rohit was available it wouldn’t have done World of good. We all know Rohit is just a good innings away to regain his form and Virat is also showing good faith on Rohit the same way MS did but is Rohit the only missing puzzle to provide the solution for our troubles in the opening slot? At leat at this point of time, it doesn’t look a definite answer.
The final question we would like to put forward to Indian team management and to the captain is “We have been facing trouble in Opening slot post-2013-14, every time Rahane was pushed into the spot as trial&error, he has failed almost every time. Now it is 2017 still he was in the picture till 3rd ODI against England? Why haven’t we tried the likes of Shreyas Iyer who has been a bright spark in domestic circuits in last 2 seasons? Right now we have young 19-year old.
Right now we have young 19-year-old Pant in the T20 squad, he had a stunning season in domestic cricket and a very decent IPL 2016. Instead of Virat stepping to fill opening spot let this kid be given a chance he looks a game changer. Let’s hope a bold move is taken to find a solution rather than just temporary fix up. Please don’t keep this kid in bench and make him wait till he loses his form. Shreyas Iyer was not selected when he was in red-hot form during the year 2015-16 and now he is not much in the picture, hope Pant get’s the chance he rightly deserves in upcoming 2nd and 3rd t20 games against England.