Karim wishes to see Kohli bat at no. 3 in second T20I vs Afg; Patel differs

With talismanic batter Virat Kohli joining the Indian team ahead of the second T20I against Afghanistan at the Holkar Stadium on Sunday, former wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim thinks he should bat at number three.

With talismanic batter Virat Kohli joining the Indian team ahead of the second T20I against Afghanistan at the Holkar Stadium on Sunday, former wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim thinks he should bat at number three.

But his fellow former wicketkeeper-batter Parthiv Patel believes Kohli should be opening the batting for India in T20Is. Kohli is all set to play a T20I for India after last featuring in the format during the ten-wicket defeat to England in the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final at the Adelaide Oval.

“I am looking at Virat Kohli at No. 3, keeping in mind that the T20 World Cup is to be played in the West Indies and the USA. In the West Indies, India will be playing on slow wickets in the Super 8s. There you need someone who can control the entire innings. I think Rohit Sharma is backing Virat Kohli to play that role there,” said Karim on JioCinema.

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Patel, though, sees things differently. “Virat Kohli’s contribution as an opener has been immense. Whenever he has played as an opener for India in T20 cricket, he has scored a lot of runs. He can set the tone of the innings. If he gets an opportunity to face those 120 balls, he can create that chance to get big runs,” he said.

India have a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan after winning the opening game in Mohali. Yashasvi Jaiswal was pencilled in to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma, but a groin injury kept him out of the game.

“I do feel that Yashasvi should open the innings with Rohit Sharma because both Rohit and Virat need these matches to get back into the T20 groove. At the same time if you want that right hand-left hand combination, you have to get Yashasvi back,” added Karim.

With this being India’s last series before the Men’s T20 World Cup in West Indies and USA from June 1-29, there is room for left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and fast-bowler Avesh Khan to be tried in the remaining games in Indore and Bengaluru.

“I do feel that Kuldeep Yadav should get a look in. It’s not that he’s out of the XI because of non-performance. At this moment the management wants to persist with Ravi Bishnoi because in the last home series he did quite well.”

“Although he was expensive in the first T20I, one can expect Ravi Bishnoi to come back and deliver the goods. But yes, Kuldeep Yadav has to be in the mix of things because he has been such an exceptional bowler in T20 cricket. One does also not forget Ravindra Jadeja. Where does he come and fit in?” asked Karim.

“It’s not that players are out because of non-performance. It’s all about what kind of combinations that the team wants to go with, what kind of players India is looking at, what kind of players India wants to try out. It all depends on what Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma are thinking. I think it will come down to trying out of players,” concluded Patel.

(IANS)