India has used as many as seven openers in the T20I format in 2022, including captain Rohit Sharma, with Ishan Kishan being the most common choice. In 13 appearances as an opener for India, the youngster scored 419 points with three fifties. But despite Ishan’s good showing to prove his worth as a backup opener to Rohit and KL Rahul, India continued to experiment with the opening slot, with Suryakumar Yadav being the latest option. And while the move has drawn huge criticism from experts, Rohit provided a blunt explanation of the rationale behind the ongoing experiments.
Suryakumar, who was more certain as number 4 batter for India in T20Is, has never opened for India in a limited overs game. But in the first two games of the ongoing West Indies series, he ran alongside Rohit at the start of the innings to open for India. He scored a 16-ball 24 in the first game and 11 out of 5 in the second game on Monday.
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Although the move has come under criticism from cricket pundits, Rohit explained that he wants batters to be flexible in line-up rather than sticking to a single position.
“We want the guys to be able to hit anywhere and not hit specific positions. We want the guys to be flexible, there are two ways to look at it, depending on certain players,” he said during the toss on Tuesday.
Speaking to Fan Code during the first match, former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif had questioned the decision as the team had chosen Rishabh Pant as the opener in the England series that preceded it. He admitted the move confused him, as Pant only got two chances as the opener.
“Whatever that was, I didn’t understand it at all. If you tried Rishabh Pant as the opener for 2-3 games, you should have gone with him today as well. Give him at least 5 chances. And this strategy of captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid, they support the players at least 5-6 matches. But this didn’t happen to Pant,” he’d said.
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