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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

IND vs AFG, 1st T20I: Rahul Dravid confirms Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal as India's opening pair

The head coach, however, clarified that they are open to the idea of Rohit and Virat Kohli opening the innings in the shortest format

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 11.01.24, 08:44 AM
India head coach Rahul Dravid on Wednesday.

India head coach Rahul Dravid on Wednesday. PTI

Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal will open in the first T20I against Afghanistan in Mohali on Thursday, Rahul Dravid confirmed on Wednesday.

The head coach, however, clarified that they are open to the idea of Rohit and Virat Kohli opening the innings in the shortest format. With Kohli not available for Thursday’s game, Shubman Gill, a specialist opener in the squad, could come in at No.3.

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“As of now, we will be certainly opening with Rohit and Jaiswal,” Dravid said. “But when you have a squad, you have to have that flexibility to do whatever is required if that is in the best interest of the team, and gives us the best chance to succeed. So nothing is closed. We have no doubt that the kind of ability and skill sets players like Rohit and Kohli possess, they will be able to find answers against different kinds of bowling.

“But certainly, we’re really happy with what Jaiswal has done as an opener for us, and he gives us a left-right combination as well at the top.”

The Telegraph had reported that the team management was considering the idea of having the two senior-most players opening the innings.

Dravid also said that Ishan Kish­an had asked for a break during this series, and that Shreyas Iyer was dropped.

Iyer was named in Mumbai’s squad for their second Ranji Trophy game, against Andhra from January 12.

“Ishan Kishan was not available for selection,” he said. “Ishan requested for a break (while) in South Africa which we which we agreed to, which we supported, which we recognised... He has not yet made himself available for selection. I’m sure when he is ready, he will play domestic cricket and make himself available for selection.

“And certainly in Shreyas Iyer’s case, there was absolutely no disciplinary reason for his non-inclusion. There were a lot of batsmen in the team, and Shreyas missed out. He didn’t play the T20s in South Africa as well, if you notice, and it’s unfortunate.

“He is a fine player, but there are a lot of batsmen, and it is not easy to fit everyone in the squad and the playing XI. There are absolutely no disciplinary reasons, and that was not discussed at all, at least in my discussions with the selectors when they were having these deliberations.”

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