Suresh Raina firmly opposed the notion of Virat Kohli opening in T20Is, emphasizing the successful history of left-right opening combinations and expressing a preference for Kohli at No. 3.

In 2022, talks of Virat Kohli opening in T20Is gained traction after his remarkable 122 against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. While the experiment didn’t happen during the T20 World Cup, India’s coach Rahul Dravid suggested its potential in the ongoing T20I series against Afghanistan or the upcoming ICC event.

Addressing the media before the T20I series against Afghanistan, Dravid initially confirmed Yashasvi Jaiswal as Rohit’s opening partner but didn’t outright dismiss the possibility of Kohli opening during the series. Dravid emphasized that the batting order would be determined by a player’s ability against the bowling attack and prevailing circumstances rather than adhering strictly to left-right combinations.

However, two-time World Cup winner and cricket expert Suresh Raina unequivocally rejected the idea of Kohli opening in T20Is. Stressing the success of left-right opening combinations, Raina cited historical examples like Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in the 2010s and Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar in the 2000s. Expressing a preference for Kohli at No. 3, he highlighted the solidity it adds to India’s lineup.

“I prefer Kohli bat at No.3 because if Yasasvi plays, he will open with Rohit because of that left-right combination. And it is not just because of the combination, they are both attacking batters. With Kohli at No.3, India’s line-up looks more solid. He runs between the wickets and keeps that scoreboard ticking. I feel his ideal position is No. 3. But if the management feels he should open, then Yashasvi can bat at No. 3. But I feel Yashasvi should open because he is young, shows that intent as well so India can get that good early start,” Raina told Hindustan Times.

Raina further advocated for Kohli and Rohit’s inclusion in the T20I series, underlining their experience as crucial for India’s prospects in the upcoming T20 World Cup. He lauded the return of the two senior players, citing their impressive recent form in the ODI World Cup. With Rohit’s leadership and Kohli approaching 12,000 T20 runs, Raina believes their presence strengthens India’s squad.

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Last Updated on January 12, 2024

Senior Sports Copywriter