As India gear up for the T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia later this year, we take a look at how the openers who are in contention have fared.
Since the start of 2019, eight openers have played for the Indian T20I side, with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul unsurprisingly topping the run-scoring charts. However, the Indian captain’s form this IPL has been a worry: he has scored 200 runs in 11 games at an average of 18.18 and a strike rate of less than 125.
Though Rohit is a certain starter for the World Cup, will he be the first choice if only the performances of the 2022 IPL are considered? We rank the eight Indian openers who have played for the international team in the last three years based on how well they have done in the T20 league.
Most impressive: KL Rahul, Sanju Samson and Prithvi Shaw
KL Rahul: 459 runs @ 45.90, SR: 140.36
The Lucknow Super Giants skipper has continued his excellent run in the IPL, making over 400 runs for the fifth successive time. What has stood out has been his strike rate of 140.36, which is the best that he has managed in a season since 2018. The wicketkeeper has also made two centuries and has taken on the responsibility of leading a new team with relative ease.
Sanju Samson: 321 runs @ 32.10, SR: 155.82
Samson’s fearlessness and his ability to tee off from ball one could make him a refreshing pick in India’s T20 World Cup squad. With the Indian openers often adopting a sedate approach upfront, striking at 130.79 in the powerplay overs could work out wonderfully for the side.
Prithvi Shaw: 259 runs @ 28.78, SR: 159.87
Though Shaw has not been the most consistent, he has a strike rate of 159.50 in the powerplay overs this IPL, and overall, the fourth-best among all Indians this season (min. 200 runs). His aggression almost always gives his side a steady start, and his batting template is tailor-made for shorter formats.
Have impressed on occasions: Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad
Shikhar Dhawan: 381 runs @ 42.33, SR: 122.11
The left-hander has made three fifties in 11 innings but has lacked fluency. Seven knocks by Dhawan in this IPL have come at a strike rate of less than 120, and even though he has been among the runs, he can be guilty of slowing down an innings in the middle overs.
Ruturaj Gaikwad: 306 runs @ 27.82, SR: 133.04
Gaikwad had a dismal start to the campaign, scoring 0, 1, 1, 16, 17, 73, and 0 in the first seven matches of the season, but he managed to raise his game thereafter, scoring 198 runs in four innings. His highlight was a fine knock of 99 off 57 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad. However, his last two innings have come at a strike rate of less than 125.
Least impressive: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli
Rohit Sharma: 200 runs @ 18.18, SR: 125
It is the first time that Rohit has averaged less than 20 in an IPL season. The Mumbai Indians opener has completely lacked rhythm with the bat this season, which, coupled with Ishan Kishan’s poor run, sees the franchise at the bottom of the table.
Virat Kohli: 216 runs @ 19.64, SR: 111.34
With three first-ball ducks this IPL, Kohli is possibly at his lowest as an IPL batter. The former franchise skipper has been unlucky on occasions, but overall, has lacked the timing and the technique that we have grown so accustomed to seeing from him. He has recorded his worst average and strike rate in a season since 2008.
Ishan Kishan: 321 runs @ 32.10, SR: 117.15
Bought for INR 15.25 crores by Mumbai Indians in the mega-auction, Kishan has been one of the big letdowns. Of the two fifties that the wicketkeeper has made this year, two were scored at a strike rate of less than 130. Overall, Kishan has only batted with a strike rate of more than 130 on three occasions this IPL.