Navjot Singh Sidhu explains logic behind Virat Kohli opening with Rohit Sharma at T20 World Cup 2024

Kohli scored 1 off 5 balls while opening in India's T20 World Cup 2024 opener against Pakistan.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma | GettyVirat Kohli’s performance was nothing short of remarkable in the recently held IPL season. Playing for RCB, he opened the batting and finished the tournament as the leading run-getter with 741 runs from 15 innings at a strike rate of 154.69, including one hundred and five half-centuries.

Kohli is currently plying his trade in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. He opened for India in the first match against Ireland in New York and returned with the score of 1 off 5 balls.

While Kohli’s strike rate in some of the IPL 2024 matches sparked a debate in the cricket fraternity, former India cricketer-turned-commentator Navjot Singh Sidhu believes that the star batter is a game-changer.

“See, game changers are those who will score 2 runs in a ball,” Sidhu said on ‘Star Sports Press Room’.

“You are talking about strike rates, 1.5, 1.7, but there are some people who are scoring 2.5 runs, three runs per ball. There are some people who in the end will come and score in 10 balls, a 35. Now that is the quality,” he pointed out.

“That 35 in ten balls, if two people score and support someone like Virat Kohli, is a game changer. Make no mistake about it,” he added.

According to Sidhu, Shivam Dube and Akshar Patel are the two players in the current Indian team who can be game-changers.

“…you look at the IPL and you look at the T20 format, those who can actually score a 2.5 per ball or above two per ball are the real game changers. There are so many of them.

“There is Ravindra Jadeja, there is Dube, and even Akshar also scores the runs in the same pace. Why is (MS) Dhoni such a great finisher, because his strike rate is 2.5, his strike rate at times is 4 per ball.

“That is the real game changing effect in the game of cricket in T-20. It’s a different skill altogether, the skill to clear the ground.”

Talking about the marquee India versus Pakistan clash in the T20 World Cup on June 9, Sidhu said while he would have preferred a Rohit Sharma-Yashasvi Jaiswal combination for opening, he can understand why Kohli has been paired with the Indian captain.

“…they have changed the combination because then Dube and Akshar wouldn’t have got the opportunity to play, so they have made this combination for a correct composition where Akshar is batting at no. 8, especially in this pitch where bowlers have an advantage,” he said.

“If the tournament would have opened in West Indies, then we would have seen Rohit and Yashasvi opening the match, there you wouldn’t have needed the sixth or the seventh bowler.

“You can’t expect 200 runs in this pitch, 130 or 140 runs would be good, and this combination will work."


By Salman Anjum - 09 Jun, 2024

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