Wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik has complete faith in KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma as the go-to opening pair for Team India. He believes this should be the opening pair heading into the T20 World Cup next year.
The pair once again stitched a vital stand at the top of the order against New Zealand on Friday. They built a solid platform to secure a series win for India over New Zealand with one match remaining.
Karthik feels India should focus on finding their third and final opener in the squad. He will need to bat at the top in case injury rules out either Rohit or Rahul from playing. He also noted that there is no need for more than three openers in the squad. While speaking to Cricbuzz, Karthik said:
“In my mind there is no doubt that Rohit and Rahul are the first choice openers. What they need to find out is, if one of them is injured for the World Cup, then who is going to be their third opener who can fill in. I don’t think we need more than 3 openers in the squad.”
Karthik also put up some good options for the spot. He added:
“Are you going to look towards a left-hander like Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, or Shikhar Dhawan or someone like Ruturaj Gaikwad. One of them should definitely be given a break in the next game and the team should look into their third opener.”
Karthik termed India’s performance in the second T20I as clinical as the team romped their way to victory without any prominent hiccups. He also lauded coach Rahul Dravid for sending Venkatesh Iyer in at No.3.
“The word here is clinical. Just going ahead with things smooth and calm manner. Good to see Iyer getting a hit. Good on Rahul Dravid to promote him up the order. Straightforward finish for India very good batting upfront by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, let’s not forget about the quality of the knocks they both played.” Karthik explained
The KKR all-rounder came into bat in the previous contest in a pressure situation and perished in just two deliveries. This time around, he was able to settle in and assess the conditions. The team was already in a comfortable position by the time he arrived at the crease.
He remained unbeaten on 12 off 11 deliveries as Rishabh Pant finished the innings from the other end with his pyrotechnics.
If they continue like this into multi-nation tournaments, India will be unstoppable in many ways: Karthik
Karthik noted India’s dominance in bilateral series, especially at home. He feels that the process under coach Dravid is in place for the team to succeed at big tournaments in a similar fashion.
“Disappointing from New Zealand’s perspective, coming in as runner-ups in a World Cup final and pretty much getting thrashed in both matches by India here. This also goes on to show India’s ability to do so well in bilateral series and if they continue in the same way, form, and confidence like this into multi-nation tournaments, we will be unstoppable in many ways, the process is already out in place, we have a good coach and a steady captain. Interesting times ahead for Team India.” Karthik elaborated
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India have already secured the series following wins in Jaipur and Ranchi. The focus is expected to be on bench strength as the teams move to Kolkata to play the third and final T20I of the series.
Q. Should Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul be India’s first choice opening pair?