With a lot of opening combinations at their disposal in the recently announced Asia Cup squad, Team India are spoilt for choice but former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel feels that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma should be the ones to kickstart the innings during the tournament.
“My openers are Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. I would want Virat Kohli to open and just go out and unleash yourself. You have taken a break and we know there is no shortage of ability in Kohli’s batting style. And sometimes as an opener you start at 0/0. When you are batting at three, the game is not set up for you. You have to play according to the game situation. Here you start at 0/0 and create the game situation,” Patel said in a Cricbuzz YouTube channel show.
“You have all the abilities. Kohli can play however he wants and still play at 170 strike rate. If two wickets have fallen early, he can still play at 130. The number of runs and hundreds he has scored is a testimony of the player himself,” the former India player added.
Patel also harked back to Kohli’s form in past IPLs where the former India captain played as an opener and scored freely for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“You want him to play as freely as he can and there is no pressure on him. He has nothing to prove. All his runs and all his big innings have come as an opener in IPL 2016,2017 and 2018 and that’s the position he likes. And top of everything, he likes to take the game to attack. he likes those challenges and they could help unleash a new Virat Kohli,” Patel said.
Both Harsha Bhogle, who was also part of the discussion as well as Patel said that if there was one place Virat Kohli would rediscover himself would probably be Australia, a place where the T20 World Cup is being held in October.
“He likes that pace and bounce and the aggressive environment around. Balls not stopping and coming, doesn’t swing very much and comes beautifully (to the bat), lovely bouncy wickets. He doesn’t mind pace so if there’s one place you tilt, you would say Virat Kohli would rediscover himself, it’s probably Australia,” Bhogle said.
The 15th edition of the Asia Cup will be played in the UAE between six teams. Defending champions India are also the most successful team, having won the trophy on seven occasions. While the last edition of the tournament was held in an ODI format, this edition will feature the T20 format.
The six teams are divided into two groups with India, Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan forming Group B.