Asia Cup 2022: Sure of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul getting back to form at the right time for India, says Saba Karim

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Asia Cup 2022: Sure of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul getting back to form at the right time for India, says Saba Karim
Asia Cup 2022: Sure of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul getting back to form at the right time for India, says Saba Karim

Asia Cup 2022: Sure of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul getting back to form at the right time for India, says Saba Karim

Asia Cup 2022: Former senior selection committee member and former India wicketkeeper-batsman Saba Karim expressed high hopes for right-handed batsmen Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to regain their form just in time for the team after the pair completed “2–3 good practise sessions.”

For the Asia Cup, Kohli and Rahul will both rejoin India’s T20I team. The issue for the pair, however, is to adjust to the new, aggressive batting style India has adopted whenever they haven’t been regularly playing since the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year.

Both Rahul and Kohli have a history of being sluggish openers in the shortest version of the game, though Kohli did display some signs of adjusting to that style in the two T20Is he played against England in July by going for his shots right away before falling for a cheap shot.

“My top order is captain Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. And I’m backing experience to do well against a big team like Pakistan and also in an important tournament like Asia Cup. I can understand that Virat Kohli has struggled with form.”

“KL Rahul, would love to see him get more runs but I still feel that both Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, if they undergo 2-3 good practice sessions, I’m sure they’ll get back to form at the right time for India,” said Karim.

Asia Cup 2022: Sure of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul getting back to form, says Saba Karim
Asia Cup 2022: Sure of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul getting back to form, says Saba Karim

Karim continued by saying that due to Suryakumar Yadav’s versatility, he sees the possibility of using him as a floater in India’s starting eleven. Suryakumar can excel in any capacity, as evidenced by his 117 against England coming at number four or his brilliant 76 against West Indies as the opener, in addition to having a variety of shots against pacers and spinners.

“Suryakumar Yadav is such a multi-dimensional player, I can keep him as a floater. I can push him up the order, if my two openers bat say till the 7th-8th over, I can push in SKY then. Or in case it is required, I can also push him down the order because he’s such a player who can give me value at whatever number he bats and I’m looking at my 4-5-6 as floaters.”

Karim signed off by stating he would keep Rishabh Pant’s position in the starting lineup flexible. Because of his left-handedness, which is unusual in India’s right-handed-heavy primary batting order.

“I will in fact keep Rishabh Pant very handy. Because if I feel that I need to push in a left-hander at the top of the order. I can do that as well. But as of now my fixed three positions at the top would be Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli.”

‘WOULD PICK PANT OVER KARTHIK’

Dinesh Karthik is not the x-factor that Rishabh Pant, a left-handed wicketkeeper-batter, brings to India’s playing XI for the Asia Cup, said Karim.

There is only one batting spot remaining for the wicketkeeper, which suggests a toss-up between Pant and Karthik. With Kohli & Rahul likely to return to India’s starting lineup for their Asia Cup campaign opener against Pakistan.

“Well in my 11, I could’ve only picked one wicketkeeper batter, because if I’m getting in KL Rahul & Virat Kohli. That leaves me with the choice of picking only one player between Dinesh Kartik and Rishabh Pant.”

“I’ve gone ahead with Rishabh Pant because he’s such an X-Factor for India. And I can see him delivering some stellar performances even this Asia Cup,” said Karim.

Karthik has been providing the necessary finishing touches in the final five overs phase ever. Since he returned to the India T20I team in June’s match against South Africa. Karthik’s finishing role has recently benefited India as seen by his 27-ball 55 on a difficult pitch at Rajkot. And an unbeaten 19-ball 41 against the West Indies at Trinidad.

When serving as the team’s interim captain during the T20I series against South Africa in June. Pant has had a mixed record, falling on all four occasions while attempting to cut through the off-side. Pant showed indications of regaining his form after being used as an opener twice against England. His best score was 44 in the fourth T20I against the West Indies played in Lauderhill, Florida.

Karim remarked selecting Pant over Karthik will let India to play with five bowlers. And leaving no room for both keepers to be in the starting eleven.

“I’m also preferring a combination which allows me to play five wicket-taking bowlers. On top of that, I have Hardik Pandya as my sixth bowling option. So, if I go in with this kind of combination then I don’t have space for two wicketkeepers.”

It will be the revival of the “biggest rivalry” in cricket. When India and Pakistan face off in their Asia Cup Group A opener at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

This will be the sides’ first encounter since their matchup at the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year. There Pakistan defeated India by a commanding margin of 10 wickets to win their first Men’s World Cup.