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No place for Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill - chief selector Ajit Agarkar

By Rohit - April 12, 2024 - Last updated on Apr 12, 2024 06:46 PM
No place for Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill - chief selector Ajit Agarkar

Virat Kohli could open in T20 world cup 2024 along with Rohit Sharma

The pressure is on for the BCCI selection committee, led by chief selector Ajit Agarkar. With the T20 World Cup squad announcement just 14 days away, suggestions are pouring in. Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull has offered a unique perspective, proposing a starting lineup for India that features Virat Kohli, currently in top form, as an opener.

This surprising choice comes at the expense of established players like Hardik Pandya and Shubman Gill. This has ignited discussions about India's ideal team composition for the upcoming World Cup.

Kohli batted at No. 3 in 80 out of the 109 T20I innings he played for India, scoring 3076 runs at 53.96. That has long been his preferable position in white-ball cricket, whether in T20Is or ODIs. However, in the ongoing IPL 2024, Kohli is currently the Orange Cap holder after smashing 319 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 141.78 with a century and two fifties.

Amazed at his form, Doull, in conversation on Cricbuzz, reckoned that Kohli, who also previously opened in IPL 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2023, should open for India as that it would allow the management to fit in Rinku Singh in the XI, who he feels is a must.

“I think Virat should open...100 per cent. I don't think he should bat at number three, because if he does, then Rinku Singh will miss out. And in my India starting XI, Rinku has to play. Therefore, Virat's got to open the batting. Now who he opens with, up to you. If it is Rohit Sharma or Jaiswal. But Kohli has to open, because in the modern game that is his best position. He hits the quick bowlers as good as anyone and he times the ball beautifully. Coming in and starting against spin is not his best option,” he said.

While Virat Kohli has primarily played the middle-order in international cricket, his record as an opener is impressive. In his limited opportunities (9 innings), he's amassed 400 runs at a blistering strike rate of 161.29, including a phenomenal century in the 2022 Asia Cup. Interestingly, all eight of his IPL centuries have come while opening the batting, with a career strike rate of 135.93 in that position.

Capitalizing on this IPL form, former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull proposed a bold XI for India at the T20 World Cup, featuring Kohli as an opener. This surprising move would mean excluding established names like Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, and Rishabh Pant. Doull favors Sanju Samson behind the stumps and Shivam Dube from the Chennai Super Kings to bolster the middle order.

Also Read: Team India Possible T20 World Cup Squad After Two Weeks Of IPL 2024

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