Gautam Gambhir Excludes KL Rahul From India’s Top-order For T20 WC
By CricShots - Jun 13, 2022 2:42 pm
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One of the biggest matters of concern for Team India in the T20I series against South Africa has been their intent in the powerplay which has affected the Men in Blue several times in the past, especially while batting first. But one batter has laid down the blueprint for India’s fearless game against the new ball and former Indian opener, Gautam Gambhir has been effusive while praising Ishan Kishan as he backed him for the T20 World Cup as well.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul

Ishan Kishan has so far scored 55 runs in the powerplay while facing 41 deliveries across two innings at a strike rate of 134.1 and a boundary rate of almost 4 balls. India has long been in search for a fearless batter at the top of the order in the shortest format of the game and Ishan has proven his worth so far in the department.

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Speaking to Star Sports after India’s second T20I against South Africa in Cuttack, Gautam Gambhir opined that he would like to persist with Ishan even when KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli will be coming back to the white-ball side. He also urged head coach Rahul Dravid to persist with Ishan for the T20 World Cup 2022 and keep him in the XI during the build-up games if he does remain in the scheme of things.

gambhir india
Gautam Gambhir

During a discussion on Star Sports, Gautam Gambhir was asked about Ishan Kishan batting well before falling prey to a bouncer. He responded: “Absolutely. We will have to see if Team India persists with him when KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli come. Will you be tempted to start with him along with Rohit Sharma and play KL Rahul in the middle order? That is a temptation. Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma to open, and Suryakumar Yadav at number 3 for me.”

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The former Indian opener cast his vote for Kishan to be given an extended run at the top of the order. Gautam Gambhir reasoned: “You always talk about an X-factor, a fearless approach, whether he scores runs or not, he (Kishan) brings a fearless approach. I will definitely want to persist with him. Australian conditions – bouncy wickets, he likes to play the pull shots, hits the long ball well. So you should probably persist with him till the World Cup.”

Apart from providing blazing starts, Ishan Kishan also gave Team India the option to field a left-right opening combination. It will be interesting to see if the Indian think-tank opts to go that route or sticks with Rohit and Rahul at the top of the order.

“In such a case I would not have him (Karthik) in the World Cup Squad. I would definitely have people like Rishabh Pant, and Deepak Hooda (in the team). We have got KL Rahul, we’ve got Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma. Once they come back, it’s going to be tough for Dinesh Karthik to find a place in the playing XI. If he doesn’t have a place in the playing XI, there’s no point giving him a place in the squad,” Gambhir said on Star Sports’ Match Point.