Though India didn’t win Asia Cup 2022, the return of form for talismanic batter Virat Kohli brought great joy for Indian fans. He was scratchy while making 35 in his 100th T20I against Pakistan. But as the tournament progressed, his fluency kept going up.
After two half-centuries and a duck, Kohli slammed a sensational, career-best 122 against Afghanistan, ending his century drought across formats of 1020 days. That effort, which sent fans into frenzy, came while opening the batting with KL Rahul as captain Rohit Sharma opted to rest to sign off from Asia Cup 2022 on a high.
Now, former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar feels that Kohli opening the batting can become a huge option for the side ahead of the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia next month.
“Look, in terms of should Virat be opening, I think it’s a great option. You look at his T20 numbers, they are outstanding. He averages about 55-57 and his strike rate is about 160. Those are phenomenal numbers.”
“His last innings, again unbeaten innings of 122, tells you that he probably relishes opening as well. If memory serves me right, he wanted to open or he said he wanted to open in the Indian T20 league (IPL) in this edition or the last edition, he said that’s the spot I want to be. So, it’s obviously something that he wants to do. So, it’s definitely a big option for the Indian team,” said Gavaskar on ‘Sports Over The Top’ show on Sports18.
With Kohli showing signs of his dominant old self again, opening the batting with him will mean that KL Rahul, whose approach with the bat in T20Is hasn’t been impressive, will have to drop out of the eleven, with Suryakumar Yadav pushed to three, something which according to Gavaskar could well be a possibility.
“It does open up those options and you’re right, SKY (Suryakumar) batting at number 3 it’s a pleasing thought. But I have to say if Virat opens, he showed what a tremendous success he is as an opener. It means one of my favourite players will have to make way which is KL Rahul.”
“Because KL Rahul, I’ve said this before, he’s an absolute class act. So look, it’s one of those tricky sort of situations but SKY at number 3, I think that’s what we want. His numbers you know and as rightly said, he’s one of the best batters in T20.”