“KL Rahul Probably Got More Ability Than Virat Kohli Or Rohit Sharma” - Gautam Gambhir
Should Virat Kohli open the innings for the Indian cricket team? Well, this burning question has become one of the most discussed topics in the cricketer fraternity. Recently, Virat Kohli roared back to his form and registered his 71st century, while opening the innings for the Indian cricket team in the Super 4 game in the Asia Cup 2022.
Virat was sent to open the innings with KL Rahul, in the absence of Rohit Sharma in the Super 4 game in Asia Cup 2022 and together they stitched a 119-run opening stand. Virat smashed 122 not out off just 61 balls, helping the Indian cricket team post a total of 212 runs on the scoreboard. His knock was laced with 6 sixes and 12 boundaries as he ended his century drought.
After his stunning performance in the opening position, several experts have backed him to open the innings for team India in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2022. However, former India batter Gautam Gambhir is completely against Virat opening the innings for Team India. Gambhir has backed KL Rahul to open the innings for India and also went on to claim that Rahul has more ability than Rohit or Virat.
During a press conference organized by Star Sports Network, he said: "That's a very valid point, the moment someone starts doing very well, for example, if Virat Kohli has got a hundred in the last game, we all start forgetting about what KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma has done over such a long period of time. And suddenly when you start this debate about Virat Kohli opening the batting, imagine what happens to KL Rahul, you don't want your top class players to be under pressure, especially someone like KL Rahul, who's got probably more ability than Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli. And we have seen that in international cricket and the IPL as well,"
He added: "Think from India's point of view and not from an individual's point of view. So that's why I think you (Hayden) made a very valid point that we as experts and broadcasters should start thinking about how India can flourish in the World Cup rather than certain individuals who particularly want to bat at a certain number,"
Further, talking about whether Virat should open the batting in T20Is, former Australia opener Matthew Hayden said: "Virat, you know, he's such a great player of fast bowling, and Australia's full of fast bowling in their cricket team and they are relying heavily on Adam Zampa through the middle stages now. Pointers to take pace off the ball, Mitch Marsh as well, he'll handle him nicely. And this great debate around Virat batting up, GG (Gambhir) and I have already had this over the last couple of days, there's no way that he has to open the batting, he has to bat at number 3, simple as that."
He added: "And again, it's another one of those things that you don't want to let the door open the discussion on this. You don't want to have a doubt, you don't want to have KL Rahul in the masterful form that he's been in of late and Rohit Sharma who is captain of the team thinking 'I've got to kind of watch my spot here that you know I'm an opening batsmen and my job is to play with freedom' and unfortunately, when you start having these debates and you start thinking 'oh maybe he, for his game, it should be him opening', I'm sure he wouldn't want to entertain that and put pressure,"