India is playing in the Nidahas Tri-series 2018 which includes hosts Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The series will be played from March 6- March 18, in Colombo.
India lost the first match of the series to Sri Lanka, as they were unable to defend 170 odd, as the bowlers disappointed a lot. However, some blame has to be put on batsmen as well, as apart from Shikhar Dhawan; none of the batsmen were able to continue after getting starts to their innings.
The biggest culprit of all proved to be Rohit Sharma, the stand-in Indian captain, who failed to score a single run and was dismissed for a duck. Rohit Sharma is coming off a disastrous tour of South Africa, where he succeeded in scoring a single hundred, across all the three formats.
Last time he played Sri Lanka in T20Is, he scored the joint fastest T20I hundred and in the next match against the same opposition, he was dismissed for a duck. Rohit Sharma has been accused of taking too many balls to get his eye in, putting pressure on his partner to score from ball one.
Rohit Sharma only started opening for India in 2013, in limited overs format. However, he doesn’t open even for his IPL franchise Mumbai Indians playing at either no.3 or no.4. He feels that he is more in control of his game at no.4.
Maybe that’s what Team India needs, Rohit Sharma, steering the Indian innings from the no.4 position. India meanwhile can try out either KL Rahul or Rishabh Pant at the top, both of whom have vast experience of opening in T20 cricket.
KL Rahul has opened for SRH in IPL and even for India in T20Is. He has a classical technique, that has been tweaked for T20 format and he has been extremely effective with it.
Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, holds the record of the second fastest hundred in the T20 format (off 32 balls) and is widely regarded as one of the most aggressive batsmen in the format. Pant opening for India will be the best thing, as his game includes lots of aerial shots and the field restrictions in the first six overs, give him the independence to hit over the top without the fear of getting out.
Rohit Sharma serves well at no.4, where he can go after the spinners in the middle overs; as he has proven for a long time in IPL. Rahul or Pant opening for India will provide the team with a quick start and also get the best use of the first six overs of power play; setting a good platform for the later hitters to provide a big finish.
In absence of Virat Kohli, India needs an experienced hand at no.4 and who better than four-time IPL champion Rohit Sharma, who has made a living out of batting at no.4 for his franchises and providing them with a strong anchor and quick finishes in IPL. Also having an experienced player who can hit that boundary every over helps in keeping up the run rate up during the dull middle overs in T20 format.
This Nidahas Tri-series is a good occasion for Team India to experiment with the new batting order and giving fringe players a chance to shine. Rohit Sharma, being the captain, should take the initiative, like Virat Kohli, who let Suresh Raina take up his spot in the batting order because Raina was more suited for that spot.
Rohit Sharma should also realize that he is better suited for no.4 and let Rahul or Pant open with Dhawan and let them loose on the opposition bowlers, to take advantage of the power play overs.