Former India batsman VVS Laxman has picked Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as the opening pair for the upcoming T20I series against England, which is scheduled to start from Friday. According to Laxman, Shikhar Dhawan, despite being in an amazing form, can be used as a backup opener keeping in mind this year’s T20 World Cup in India.
Speaking on the Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected, Laxman said:
“It will be a tough question, as far as the selection of the second opener is concerned. There’s no doubt about that because Rohit Sharma is an automatic choice in white-ball cricket. I will still go with KL Rahul because over the last few months and years I think the Indian team management went with KL Rahul as an opening batsman and he has done really well in that position.”
Shikhar Dhawan has joined the white-ball squad after a couple of good knocks including a strokeful 153 in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy for Delhi. On the other hand, KL Rahul has been travelling with the team since the start of the 4-match Test series which concluded last week.
When asked about Shikhar Dhawan, Laxman said that he is only good enough to be a backup opener despite his form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
“Yes, Shikhar Dhawan had a fantastic IPL, the way he batted at the top of the order, scoring centuries for Delhi Capitals and then he’s in tremendous form for Delhi in the Vijay Hazare, where he scored a big 100 in that tournament as well. But keeping in mind the T20 World Cup, you have to identify who your openers are going to be there in the World Cup and back them; don’t chop and change. You have someone as experienced as Shikhar Dhawan, who can be the backup opener in case one of these openers Rohit Sharma/KL Rahul gets injured or lose their form,” added Laxman.
Speaking about how the upcoming series is a good time for Team India to test its bench ahead of the World T20, Laxman said:
“They know that they (England) are the number one T20 playing nation in world cricket, we saw what they did in the 50-over format – how much they are focused on winning the World Cup. I think it’s the same goal for Eoin Morgan and the England team. It’s a great opportunity for Team India because you are playing five matches in your home condition, followed by IPL and Asia Cup before the T20 World Cup. It’s a great opportunity to test your bench, which is why I feel the squad is very formidable – as far as the Indian squad is concerned.”
KL Rahul was IPL 2020’s highest run-scorer. The Punjab Kings captain hit 670 runs, 52 runs more than Delhi Capitals opener Shikhar Dhawan.