Last year in the Asia Cup, Rohit Sharma, and Shikhar Dhawan showcased why they are regarded as India’s best opening pair. The recent struggles may have opened Dhawan up for criticism, but the two are almost guaranteed of making it to India’s World Cup squad as the opening pair. Before the big tournament begins, Dhawan and Rohit will face off each other take on each other as Mumbai Indians play Delhi Capitals in the opening fixture of Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Delhi Capitals traded Dhawan from Sunrisers Hyderabad after the franchise struggled with too many opening pairs last season, and finished at the bottom spot. The left-handed batsman has struggled with form since the start of 2019 for India and would be eager to get runs on the board in the T20 tournament to give a major boost to the rechristened Delhi Capitals and earn them their first win in their new avatar.
For MI, Sharma has already declared that he would be opening in all the games as he will be playing the same role in the upcoming World Cup tournament. The two openers, for their respective sides, will be eager to get their sides off to a great start in the match.
Bumrah, Pandya Workload
The three-time IPL Champions MI will also be keeping an eye on the workload of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and allrounder Hardik Pandya ahead of the World Cup. Pandya had to sit out of Asia Cup last year after a back injury. He also had to miss out the recently concluded ODI series against Australia due to the same reason. Bumrah also had a few niggles over the year and India would not want their frontline man to get an injury before the start of World Cup.
Former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who is part of MI’s coaching staff, said last week: “He (Hardik) has to be monitored. He’s in consultation with the team of support staff. Everything is under control.”
“We have been on the road for last three or four years. We have played a lot of back-to-back cricket. It depends on individuals. You should always listen to your body,” Rohit had said when quizzed about workload management.
Another player, who would be eager to get off to a great start in the IPL 2019 against Mumbai Indians would be wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. The 20-year-old faced criticism for his temperament and work behind the stumps during the Australia series, and needs to showcase his talent to push his name for the World Cup squad.
Shreyas Iyer, who would be leading the side for the tournament, is likely to feel the pressure as well, being an inexperienced leader in the T20 tournament.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Lasith Malinga, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper)
Delhi Capitals: Colin Ingram, Manjot Karla, Prithvi Shaw, Sherfane Rutherford, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Bandaru Ayyappa, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kasigo Rabada, Nathu Singh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Keemo Paul, Rahul Tewatia, Ankush Bains and Rishabh Pant.