With the T20 World Cup just a few months away, most teams would be looking to get their XI ready for this mega tournament. However, the situation is a bit tricky for Team India. One team is currently in England preparing for a Test series while the other one is in Sri Lanka to play a limited-overs series. It isn’t an ideal preparation for the team ahead of the T20 World Cup as the two openers used in the previous T20I for India, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli won’t play any international T20 cricket before the World Cup now.
The team is spoilt for choices at the opening spot but who should be the first choice for India in the T20 World Cup? Here are the pros and cons of every batter.
Rohit Sharma may have been the most successful captain in the Indian T20 League but personally hasn’t had a great season for Team Mumbai for quite some time now. In the past two years in T20Is, Rohit has averaged 33.31 at a more than a handy strike rate of 144.83. Interestingly, his record has been better in overseas conditions than back in India and that could be a factor to consider given that conditions in the UAE are going to be similar to India. One thing is certain, Sharma will start as the first choice opener for India in the T20 World Cup.
It has been said for some years now that Virat Kohli is best used as an opener in T20 cricket given the way he plays. He has an impeccable record in international T20 cricket and plays the role of a sheet-anchor better than anybody in the world. In the past two years, his record has been even better. He averages almost 60 with a surprisingly good strike rate of 143.36. He averages over 100 in the past two years in matches played in India and that tells you the greatness of the man. He has opened only once in T20Is and that was the last match India played in England and he did pretty well. With Suryakumar Yadav doing a good job at number three, Kohli at the top of the order makes plenty of sense.
Often hailed as India’s best T20 batter, KL Rahul has had a tough few matches in T20I cricket, which led to him losing his place in the starting XI. He won’t even have the opportunity to show his class in the series against Sri Lanka as he is a part of the Test squad touring England. There has been some criticism with the way Rahul approaches his innings after being handed the additional responsibility of being the captain of Team Punjab in the Indian T20 League and his strike rate in the past two years gives us that indication. Rahul strikes at only 133.99 which is below his career strike rate of 142.19 and that can be the biggest reason why he has lost his spot in the Indian T20I team.
Shikhar Dhawan was given just one match in the England series before he got the axe. It seems like Dhawan’s international T20 career is coming to an end but Gabbar would want to show his class in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. He had a good season in the Indian T20 League and with a good series against Sri Lanka followed by another good season in the Indian T20 League, Shikhar could make his way back in India’s T20 team.
Prithvi Shaw brings something extremely different to this Indian T20I lineup. He brings a touch of fearlessness and the ability to go all guns blazing from ball one. In modern-day T20 cricket, you need a dasher at the top of the order and this is where India has struggled in the past few years. The powerplay is the key for a batting team to score big and this is where Shaw comes into play. He has had a wonderful year in domestic cricket and the series against Sri Lanka could be a great chance for Shaw to show his worth in international cricket as well.