Big T20 World Cup Question: If Rahul opens, Kohli plays at No. 3, who to drop from middle order?

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Big T20 World Cup Question: If Rahul opens, Kohli plays at No. 3, who to drop from middle order?
Big T20 World Cup Question: If Rahul opens, Kohli plays at No. 3, who to drop from middle order?

Big T20 World Cup Question: If Rahul opens, Kohli plays at No. 3, who to drop from middle order?

T20 World Cup: Even one year back it was beyond imagination that Virat Kohli‘s place in the Indian team could be questioned.

Even if Kohli is healthy and available, it may be the first time in ten years that cricketing circles debate his inclusion in the starting lineup.

Last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE was a complete failure, in large part because of India’s antiquated top-of-the-order batting strategy. The pace at which the runs were scored was poor.

The question of whether KL Rahul, Rohit, and Kohli are the ideal Nos. 1, 2, and 3 in the shortest format was argued, and the majority of responses weren’t exactly positive.

A good 10 months later, with a new season beginning in October, the Indian team management is still at a crossroads.

One of the three other top T20 performances — Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, and Dinesh Karthik — might find it difficult to stay inside the playing XI if India repeats its top three in the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup.

Suryakumar has a genuine 360-degree hitter, Pant possesses that “x-factor,” and Karthik is a designated finisher.

If Kohli or Rahul must be inserted, can India afford to lose any one of the three? It’s a crucial query, yet as of yet, there is no conclusive response.

All-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja’s positions appear to be unassailable, and the starting lineup needs at least four specialist bowlers. India now only has five specialist batters to choose from, raising the crucial dilemma of who to drop?

Big T20 World Cup Question: If Rahul opens, Kohli plays at No. 3, who to drop from middle order?
Big T20 World Cup Question: If Rahul opens, Kohli plays at No. 3, who to drop from middle order?

Numbers

Rahul and Kohli have returned to the team to reclaim the spots they have held for years, but a significant issue is on the horizon: are their spots in the first XI for T20 Internationals now in jeopardy?

After the T20 World Cup last year, Kohli only participated in four short-format games over a nine-month period, recording scores of 17, 52, 1, and 11.

Despite the champion batter’s subpar performance, Chetan Sharma’s selection committee felt that this was too little data to draw any firm conclusions.

The more important query is whether team management will permit Kohli to play his preferred style, which is to construct the innings and pick up speed once the stage is set.

However, despite consistently hitting those mouthwatering boundaries, Kohli is getting out before getting set across all formats.

Now that the team’s attitude has entirely altered, even captain Rohit has adjusted his forward batting style to better meet the demands of Powerplay batting in the slam-bang format.

In the same year, he participated in 16 T20Is and amassed a respectable 145 strike rate while scoring close to 450 runs.

In fact, Rohit has scored majority of his goals in the England series with a strike rate of 150 or more with Pant and Suryakumar Yadav as his opening partners in two distinct series.

Both appeared at ease in their new roles, and Suryakumar slightly outperformed Pant in the most recent West Indies series.

Then there the incredibly gifted Deepak Hooda, who has also scored 100 points as an opener, albeit against the underdogs Ireland.

Although he won’t be a starter at the Asia Cup as of right now, Hooda has proven his mettle at No. 3. However, his tight off-breaks and reliable fielding will keep him in the discussion.

The ‘KL’ Conundrum

KL Rahul appears to have hurried into the Zimbabwe trip, saying he will be available as he gets healthy.

Rahul will start in the Asia Cup, according to sources close to the selection committee. Although he is a little anxious going into a crucial match against Pakistan on August 28. Because he hasn’t had much actual playing time.

His entry into the Zimbabwe ODI series, where he would get to bat for a long time to be ready for the event. And came as a result of rushing himself (medical team said he now fit although earlier it said his rehabilitation would take more time).

Rahul, however, has always been an accumulator who plays at a specific speed for the first 10 overs. And only picks up the tempo in the final five overs, despite his incredible T20 statistics.

He boasts a 142 percent strike rate internationally and has been an incredible run-machine for years in the IPL.

Even though the aggregate numbers look good, the team’s guiding principles have changed.

Pant or SKY or DK?

Over 54 games in T20Is, Rishabh Pant has a strike rate of 126 or higher. If cricket had only been a game of statistics. Pant would have come in for heavy criticism due to the unimpressive numbers.

But in large tournaments, consistency frequently matters. Just as much as that one moment of brilliance that may change the tide on a crucial day.

While Yuvraj Singh’s 369 runs and 15 wickets in 2011 demonstrated manic consistency. Kapil Dev’s 175 not out in 1983 was a work of magic.

Since both are necessary, giving up Pant means eliminating the possibility of using “pure magic.”

No one can argue Suryakumar’s inclusion following the innings in Nottingham during which he pulled off a nearly miraculous chase.

He equally skilled at playing the ramp shot, changing the position of his wrists just in time to strike a square-driven six. And playing the “pick-up pull-shot” behind square.

This brings us to Dinesh Karthik, who has performed admirably ever since he returned to the fray.

Karthik is engaging in a high-risk game that, as he acknowledged. He will appear nice when it works some days but not others.

Karthik will undoubtedly have his best days on Australian tracks with less lateral movement and even bounce.

Where does it leave Rahul and Kohli? Not as simple as it would seem, the solution.