Legendary Sunil Gavaskar on Saturday termed KL Rahul’s poor form as a blessing in disguise as it gave Team India a new opening combination in T20 international cricket.
India made a big change in its batting order in the 5th and final T20I against England as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli walked out to the middle after England opted to field in the series-decider.
The decision paid off as the veteran duo stitched an opening partnership worth 94 runs which was their highest in the series. Rohit smashed 64 from just 34 balls while Kohli made 22 off 20 as the two laid a solid foundation for a big score.
India had been struggling at the top of the order with KL Rahul scoring 10014 in the first four games. Kohli had backed Rahul to come good up until the final match as his patience finally ran out with the Karnataka batsman.
“Your best batsman should bat the most number of overs in limited-overs cricket. So it was very important for Virat Kohli to bat at the top of the order. So maybe, KL Rahul’s loss of form has been a blessing in disguise because this has given us an opening combination to look forward to.
“Like when Sachin Tendulkar was batting down the order in ODIs and then he was sent up to open the batting and what a transformation it had not just on his batting but the whole team. So clearly, your best batsman have to bat as many overs as they can,” Gavaskar told India Today.
Shardul Thakur (3 for 45) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 15) then helped India restrict England to 188 for 8 and win the game by 36 runs. The hosts clinched the 5-match series 3-2 in Ahmedabad.
“I would persist with this opening formula. Look at the way they fed off each other. You could see the interaction between the two of them, whenever each of them got the big shot going.
“When that happens, when two leaders of the team show the way, it becomes easier for the guys coming down the order. With Suryakumar Yadav, in India colours and playing those camoes, it’s really good,” Gavaskar added.