Opening pair bother for India ahead of game vs Pakistan
The Indian team may have won four of their last five T20 matches, but there are still some understated concerns that are bothering MS Dhoni’s men as they look to lift another coveted trophy at home, the acutest of them being the ‘opening dilemma’.
Change in the combinations needed?
Winning seven matches on the trot, India had dominated the first half of the match against New Zealand. As the openers geared up to chase the modest target of 127, few may have had predicted a miserable defeat for the Men In Blue. After all, it was the celebrated pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan who were going to start the proceedings for the Indian innings. Yet, after adding 5 runs with Rohit, Dhawan walked back to the dressing room and the rest of the team collapsed like a house of cards.
Bar the 43-run partnership against UAE in the Asia Cup, the openers have only accumulated 21 runs in the rest of the five games played recently. Albeit individually, Dhawan and Rohit have been in decent form, their rapport at the top is insecure. Also, the misfortune forces Indian no.3 Virat Kohli to act as a virtual opener. With Ajinkya Rahane serving drinks for the batsmen on a routine basis, it will be unfair from the team’s behalf to overlook the crisis up front. India’s next match against Pakistan will be played in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. As Pakistan have already befriended the conditions after a comprehensive win against Bangladesh, India won’t be holding any clear advantage against their neighbours. The track has suggested early assistance for the pacers and a shift of impetus towards the spinners afterward. Therefore, Pakistan’s proficient bowling line-up will be expected to have a field-day in Kolkata. As Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and Shahid Afridi are all in good touch, the Indian batsmen, especially the openers, will be pushed to their limits.
Indian skipper Dhoni’s logic of sticking to the left-right combination of Dhawan and Rohit is understandable as it is the textbook way of unsettling the opposition. However, compromising form for strategy is like a double-edged sword. Considering the lack of opportunities received by the deserving candidate in Rahane, it will be disappointing to see the Rohit-Dhawan partnership fail again.
The epic left-right opening partnerships of Mathew Hayden & Adam Gilchrist and Sachin Tendulkar & Sourav Ganguly should inspire Dhawan and Rohit in this dull period that they are enduring. Moreover, the duo are fierce competitors themselves and will come out tops, as they have shown in the past.