Cricket News: KL Rahul-Rohit Sharma of India VS Babar Azam- Mohammed Rizwan of Pakistan

    Getting a good start in any format of cricket is crucial for its team's success. Fast starts are essential for laying a solid foundation, especially in tournaments like ICC Men's T20 World Cup. The opening pair usually plays a pivotal role in setting their team up for success

    Rohit Sharma-KL Rahul preferred Batting openers for Team India Rohit Sharma-KL Rahul preferred Batting openers for Team India

    Thus teams often look for a batter who can face not only new balls but also be watchful of their strike rate. 

    T20- A format of clean hitting rather than defending?

    There are different kinds of openers that every team has. Suppose you have a team of big hitters, an opener that plays as more of an anchor who can provide stability for those hitters. You should consider a more aggressive opener if you have accumulators in the middle order. 

    Overall, it's a matter of clean hitting rather than being defensive, as the formatting trend shifts towards building pressure on opponents. 

    Before the India-Pakistan clash of the ongoing T20 World Cup, Tom Moody expressed his views on the match-up between the two teams and said, "Now, we know it's T20, we know it's Power Play, and we also know that if we want to get off to a flyer, we have to manage that carefully. So, I'm not saying you need to be conservative; you need to be watchful."

    If we look at Pakistan openers Mohammed Rizwan and Babar Azam, both have a healthy average of 51.8 and 42.3, while their strike rate remains below 130. This is because of the fragility of their middle order. On the contrary, teams like India and England, with depth in their batting line-up, have slightly higher strike rates touching 139 but have averaged around 30s. 

    While openers like Rohit Sharma, Finn Allen, and Mohammed Rizwan are some of the cleanest hitters, they know very well when to defend and play attacking. In contrast, KL Rahul and Babar Azam have lately been struggling when they try to play a defensive game. They gain momentum to score freely when they both get going from the first ball with a strong hit.  

    Is a player like Rishabh Pant required in the squad? 

    Players like Rishabh Pant add a touch of unorthodox power hitting to the team, which is difficult for the opposition to decode. The T20I format needs players like this who can be ruthless and great power hitters.

    But this power-hitting should not be mixed with reckless hitting. Rishabh Pant tries to play big shots but fails to make them cross the rope. Most of the time, the shots are made owing to a poor selection of shots and not well-timed to be called a power-hitting shot by a middle-order batter.

    "He has been brilliant and we have talked about it many times that in Test cricket and in the ODIs, he has played really series-winning game-changing knocks, but that has not happened in T20 internationals or even in T20s. I feel leaving out Rishabh Pant for now in the World Cup will be the best thing.," said Wasim Jaffer. 

    The West Indies cricket team can be said to have a lot of players who match the same persona as Rishabh Pant. Ruthless, power-hitting but a little reckless. But West Indies are out of the World Cup before qualifying for the Super 12, and lack of clean hitters does sound like a big problem for their failure.