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World Twenty20: Who should open with Dhawan - Rahane or Rohit?


Jaspreet Sahni,Cricketnext
Mar 19, 2014 at 04:17pm IST

India's batting may look well equipped to climb any mountain, but it becomes easier to scale a summit if the order of the climbers matches the skills and tools they carry in ascend. India success at World Twenty20 may depend on that theory - in cricketing terms, the batting order.

There's enough meat in the bats India have carried to Bangladesh. They have arguably the world's best finisher in skipper MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh's assault against Stuart Broad seems only yesterday, Virat Kohli is now an intimidating name, Ajinkya Rahane is as fresh as a daisy, Suresh Raina is back in his happiest hunting ground and Ravindra Jadeja leads a battery of allrounders who fit nicely in the T20 blocks.

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The above is a perfect recipe to set and chase big totals, but at what number should Dhoni write each of those names could at the end of the day decide the success of a team that relies heavily on its batsmen.

World Twenty20: Who should open with Dhawan - Rahane or Rohit?

A file photo of Rohit Sharma. (Getty Images)

One name who, to the surprise of some, didn't find a mention in para 2 is Rohit Sharma. But that's not without a reason. The form of Mumbai Indians' skipper has triggered debates of late, especially on the tours of South Africa and Australia where India lacked badly in building good opening stands. While Shikhar Dhawan arrested that slide in New Zealand, Rohit failed to do it consistently - which sprung up Rahane's name as Dhawan's likely opening partner in Bangladesh.

The Rajasthan Royals' opener has been a runaway success in the Indian Premier League (IPL). His 488 runs in IPL 6 took Rajasthan to the semi-finals, while IPL 5 was even better at 560 runs. The Mumbaikar is not averse to opening the batting; in fact, he prefers doing it in the shortest format. However, Rahane has left it to team's thinking heads.

"Right now, I am not thinking about any batting number or position. I just want to go out there and enjoy my cricket and just back myself. I know that I have been playing well in T20 for Rajasthan Royals batting at the top but here the decision is completely up to the team management. I am not thinking about that," Rahane said.

The Indian skipper isn't one who believes in major shake-ups in team selections. But Dhoni will have a chance to try pushing Rahane up to open and ask Rohit to bat in the middle order against England in the warm-up game on Wednesday. However, he may also think the opposite allowing Rohit another chance to get among the runs before the opener against Pakistan.

Rohit has been successful at lower down the order for his IPL franchise, and it may not be a bad idea to shift him back into that role for the national team in Bangladesh and give the in-form Rahane a chance to lay a solid foundation.

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