Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill Shouldn’t Open In World Cup, Ravi Shastri Explained

With the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 approaching, India’s quest to end their title drought has sparked discussions and speculations about the team’s composition. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that the current opening pairing of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill may not be favoured by the management for the mega event due to their right-handedness. Shastri emphasizes the importance of having left-handers in the top order, citing examples of past World Cup-winning teams.

Ravi Shastri underlines the significance of including left-handers in the Indian squad for the World Cup. He points out that the presence of left-handed batsmen has historically played a crucial role in India’s success in previous World Cups. Shastri specifically mentions the contributions of Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, and Suresh Raina in India’s victorious 2011 campaign.

“No, that is going to be a challenge. You will have to see closer to the event. Form again becomes important. You need to strike the right balance. Do you think a left-hander will make a difference at the top? It does not have to be opening, but in the top three or four. You have to weigh all those options. Ideally, in the top six, I would like to see two left-handers,” Shastri said in an interview with The Week.

While acknowledging the partnership between Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, Shastri believes that the team management will consider alternatives for the opening slot in the World Cup. He suggests that having left-handers in the top three or four positions, not necessarily restricted to opening, can make a difference. Shastri emphasizes the need to strike the right balance in the batting lineup and weigh various options based on form and performance.

Shastri draws on the examples of past World Cup-winning teams to emphasize the impact of left-handed batsmen. He highlights the 1975 and 1979 West Indies teams led by Clive Lloyd, which included left-handers like Alvin Kallicharran and Roy Fredericks. Shastri also mentions the Australian teams of 1987 and later, with left-handers such as Allan Border, Adam Gilchrist, and Matthew Hayden. He further cites Sri Lanka’s triumph in 1996, primarily driven by the explosive batting of left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya.

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“Whenever you have done well left-handers contributed. In 2011, you had Gambhir, Yuvraj and Suresh Raina. Go back to 1974 Kallicharran, Fredericks, Clive Lloyd. The same in 1979. The 1983 team was the only one that did not have a left-hander, but that whole tournament was against all odds. In 1987, Australia had enough, they had Allan Border at the top, they had another two or three, down the order. In 1996 Sri Lanka proved it again, with Jayasuriya, Ranatunga, Gurusinha. And then Australia, with the Gilchrists and the Haydens. England have it now. That mix and balance has to be created,” he said.

Shastri emphasizes the need to create a balanced lineup by incorporating left-handers. He stresses that this mix of right-handers and left-handers has proven effective for successful teams. England’s recent success in limited-overs cricket is cited as an example of a team that has found the right combination with left-handers in their batting order.

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