The past couple of months have given us a lot of insight into India’s batting depth and what we can expect ahead of the 2022 T20 World Cup. Numerous players have showcased their talents against the likes of England and the West Indies across both white-ball formats. The problem now is for the BCCI selection committee to select the 2022 T20 World Cup squad.
We know how crucial it is to select the right openers for the match as they play a crucial role in deciding the fate of the fixture. In a format as quick as T20, having aggressive openers is quintessential, especially in the early overs. As we eagerly wait for the 2022 T20 World Cup squad to be announced, here are some worthy contenders to be the openers for India.
We witnessed Suryakumar as an opener alongside skipper Rohit Sharma on the West Indies tour. His performance in recent times has been sublime, allowing him to open in matches. His most notable performance came in the third match of the T20I series against the Windies, where he scored an impressive 76 off 44 balls. Suryakumar possesses the right qualities to be an opener. However, he might need more time in that position to get used to it.
We have seen Shreyas Iyer enter at No.3 and No.5 for the majority of his career. However, in the last match of the T20I series against the Windies, we witnessed Shreyas enter the pitch as an opener for the first time. His debut as an opener was nothing short of remarkable, as he scored 64 off 40 balls. This makes you ponder if he would make a suitable opener for India. Perhaps, opening with him regularly would help us get more clarity on this topic.
Rishabh Pant and his explosive batting resemble Virender Sehwag’s style. The wicketkeeper-batter is a free-hitter who plays dynamically. He has proved on multiple occasions that his aggressive batting style is reliable and he perhaps will be more effective as an opener. Rishabh has been moved up the batting order in recent times, opening twice this year. However, he couldn’t fare well, following 26 runs in one attempt and a single in the other.
If India are looking for a lefty-righty opening pair, perhaps Rishabh Pant can be a candidate. However, he needs more time in the opening spot to get used to the situation. His dynamic and explosive batting style will surely enable him to capitalise on the fielding restrictions in early overs.
At the young age of just 24 years, Ishan Kishan has proven to be a top talent at both the domestic and international levels. Ishan has also proven to be a reliable opener for India. Amassing four fifties as an opening batter, Ishan is a strong candidate for the role of an opener in the 2022 T20 World Cup. If India looks to explore the left-right combination for their opening pair, Ishan Kishan would be the top recommendation over Rishabh Pant, who can perhaps enter at No.3.
KL Rahul and his fitness have been making headlines since the conclusion of the 2022 Indian T20 League. Had it not been for his injuries, the vice-captain of Team India was bound to lead the Men in Blue in South Africa’s tour of India. Rahul has been out for a long while now but will make his return in the Zimbabwe tour. It all depends on his performance against the Chevrons if he is fit to be included in the T20 World Cup squad. Not to mention, Rahul is also a part of the Asia Cup squad in the UAE.
If he retains his top form against Zimbabwe and in the Asia Cup, the BCCI will undoubtedly lead with him as an opener. Rahul is a prolific opener and will be a natural pick for that spot.
Potential Opening Combination
Rohit Sharma, captain of the Indian cricket team, will most likely be the main opener. If India goes for a left-right combination, it looks like the Hitman will be joined by Ishan Kishan. However, if that is not India’s priority, we might see Suryakumar Yadav or KL Rahul join their skipper at the non-striker’s end.
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