In Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, India have a top-order that most others would dream of but maybe not in T20 cricket. Despite their truckload of talent and ability to hit any bowler on any given day, the trio just don’t seem to take the game on in the early part of the innings. Rohit Sharma did show a lot of intent, especially after taking over as India’s captain following last year’s debacle in the T20 World Cup but in most cases, he ended up losing his shape, failing to get the desired results.
Kohli ended up as this World Cup’s highest run-scorer, won India a match single-handedly against Pakistan but with him starting slowly and playing the anchor, India needed KL Rahul to bat freely at the top, which didn’t happen. The result was an exit from the semi-final after losing to England.
Looking at India’s issues at the top of the order, former England captain Nasser Hussain said they need a leader like Eoin Morgan, who would set them free as Hussain believes, the likes of Rahul and Rohit can take bowling attacks apart if they shed their fear. Michael Atherton, another former England skipper, however, believes it is easier said than done.
Atherton asked Hussain if the fear of losing their spot stops the Indian batters to bat freely.
“You talk about the Morgan impact on England and rightly so. But do you think it’s harder in India for two reasons, one is the number of cricketers they have so obviously the competition is greater? You kind of feel, if you lose your place and somebody comes in, you might get your spot back again. And also the differential between the match fees paid by BCCI and sponsorship arrangements that these big names like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul, there’s a huge differential, much bigger than England. Do you think these two factors make it more difficult for India?” he said during a discussion on Sky Sports.
Hussain came up with a brilliant response, saying Rohit Sharma has three double hundreds in ODIs and four centuries in T20I cricket, he really shouldn’t be worried about his spot in the side and so shouldn’t KL Rahul.
“I think you are complicating things. I wouldn’t be worried if they weren’t incredibly talented cricketers. You’re not talking about someone who is on the edge of the seat for a place in the side. You’re talking about Rohit Sharma, who has got two (three) double hundreds in ODI cricket, so the guy can smash it. You’re talking about KL Rahul, when you do see him bat. I think it’s the fear,” Hussain replied.
Rohit, Rahul and Kohli won’t be a part of India’s limited-overs tour to New Zealand. Hardik Pandya is leading India in the three-match T20I series while Shikhar Dhawan will take over the reins in the ODIs.