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Former India Stars Back Yashasvi Jaiswal To Be Rohit Sharma’s Opening Partner In T20 World Cup 2024 | Cricket News

Former India cricketers Irfan Pathan and Mohammad Kaif have backed young Yashasvi Jaiswal to be captain Rohit Sharma’s opening partner for India in the upcoming Men’s T20 World Cup, to be held in West Indies and USA from June 1. Kohli has been leading run-charts in the IPL 2024 as an opener for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, but him opening with Rohit for India in the T20 World Cup could result in teams having left-arm fast-bowler and left-arm spinner match-up. However, Pathan thinks Jaiswal opening with Rohit will help India tackle this match-up in the T20 World Cup.

“It’s a question which has been floating around a lot. It should be Yashasvi Jaiswal – as he being a left-hander, what happens is, a team from a bowling point of view, will start with a left-arm spinner and when that happens, you can actually play these two batters. If Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli open, as there’s been a lot of talk about it, you can keep them quiet for a certain period of time.

“If you do that, the game goes away, especially at the start and this is where a left-handed batter in Yashasvi Jaiswal comes into the picture. He’s aggressive and will take on the threat of left-arm spinner as well. So, I think Yashasvi should open with Rohit Sharma,” said Pathan while replying to an IANS query in the latest episode of ‘Star Sports Press Room’ show.

The Rohit-Jaiswal combination though, will also result in Kohli batting at number three, which would mean his struggles against spin in the post power-play phase could resurface. But Kaif believes Kohli’s previous stupendous success for India in ICC tournaments at number three is still a very big factor.

“I would see Jaiswal and Rohit opening, as Kohli has to be there at number three. Though he opens in the IPL, Kohli has done well in ICC events at number three. You need someone who has experience at number three and can bat through. With Yashasvi opening and Kohli in the dugout, there will be pressure on the opposition team that Virat is still to come out to bat.”

“If he opens and the opposition gets him out, then it will be a big confidence booster for them. Jaiswal will attack from the first ball and Rohit Sharma also attacks in power-play, then it should be this way: Jaiswal, Rohit and Virat Kohli at number three,” he added.

Pathan, the Player of the Match in India’s 2007 T20 World Cup final win over Pakistan in Johannesburg, was left disappointed over the non-inclusion of Rinku Singh and Ravi Bishnoi in the 15-member squad. Rinku, an in-form finisher for India in 15 T20I since his debut last year, is placed in the traveling reserves.

“I am very disappointed that Rinku Singh is not there. It’s because Rinku Singh was playing a crucial role in finishing the game – he did it for his franchise (Kolkata Knight Riders) last year and when he played for India, he did that role as well.”

“Once you have a strike-rate of 170 and have an average close to 60-70, and then not be picked, then you will be very disappointed. Bishnoi, I thought, despite that number six ranking, misses out to a master spinner like Chahal, though he’s got that fielding skill too. So, these were the two things I had in my mind on seeing this team.”

At the same time, Pathan reckons India has to play their cricket in feisty fashion if they are to end a more than a decade drought of World Cup victory. “The guys, who have been selected, have to perform when the pressure time comes in. I am not worried about the first half; it’s about when the knockout matches will happen – this is where I want the Indian team to play fearless cricket which in the last two World Cups – 50-over and 20-over in Australia – we missed out on that.”

Kaif agreed with Pathan’s views and felt India’s real examination will be to win knockout matches, something which they haven’t been able to do yet. “It’s a very balanced side, but this is not the IPL, where you play 14 league matches and come back to win the trophy even after losing games.”

“In the World Cup, you will meet weaker teams in the initial phase of the tournament till you meet teams like Pakistan and England in the semi-finals. You need to win two big matches to win the trophy and are you ready for that big moment? India haven’t done that in the past and that’s the real challenge for Rohit Sharma.”

India will begin their Men’s T20 World Cup campaign on June 5 against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. India, the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup winners, are in Group A alongside Pakistan, Canada and tournament co-hosts USA.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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