With his 71st international century, which the world of cricket had been waiting for 1019 days, former India captain Virat Kohli put his haters to rest. In his first T20I century, Kohli scored a not-out 122 off 61 balls. On Thursday, he returned life to normal by leading India to a decisive 101-run victory against Afghanistan in their last Asia Cup 2022 match. As the squad continues to prepare for the T20 World Cup in October, it was the most significant positive for the Indian team in an otherwise forgettable Asia Cup competition in the UAE. However, for a few, the innings ignited a discussion about whether Kohli should continue to open for the team in T20Is. Legendary Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Harbhajan Singh gave their judgment.
KL Rahul has been India’s go-to opener in T20 international cricket, and many people support his partnership with skipper Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. But the hitter, who had just earlier this month resumed playing cricket after a protracted injury layoff, had a fairly poor Asia Cup game. Kohli, on the other hand, has made a remarkable comeback to form after a month off, scoring two fifties and a hundred to take the lead in the tournament’s run-scoring table.
When Rohit was rested from the dead rubber match against Afghanistan on Thursday, Kohli opened with Rahul. Rahul looked like his old self as he broke a number of records with his unbeaten innings. Rahul contributed to the pair’s century opening stand with a solid hit of 62 off 41 balls.
After the game, Harbhajan agreed with the argument, telling India Today that Kohli has previously performed the task for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
Harbhajan said, “He has opening his innings even in franchise cricket, even for RCB while he was captaining. When he opened the innings for RCB, he scored 921 runs in one season. So this role is not new to him, he sort of likes that spot.”
He added, “Indian team needs to see what they need to do going forward whether they want to have a combo of Virat Kohli and Rohit starting the innings and KL bat at No. 3. The management needs to decide whether this can be plan B of plan A. For me, Virat is a top, top player, no doubt about it. So are KL Rahul and Rohit.”
Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar also shared his opinion on this discussion. After Rahul and Rohit, he believes the 33-year-old can serve as India’s third opener for the T20 World Cup.
Gavaskar said, “Well, I think he certainly gives an option. He has open the batting for India against England a couple of years back, if I recall correctly. He and Rohit Sharma opened the batting against England. He has opened for India.
“He now gives an extra option which means that if you are looking to pick a squad for the T20 World Cup, he can be considered as the 3rd opener after Rahul and Rohit Sharma. So you can maybe look to include another batter or whoever the selection committee thinks would be an ideal fit. With this innings, he has given an extra option to the coach, captain, and the selection committee.”