Irfan Pathan and Mohammad Kaif, two former stars of Indian cricket, have placed their confidence in young prodigy Yashasvi Jaiswal to take up the mantle as captain Rohit Sharma’s opening partner in the highly anticipated Men’s T20 World Cup slated for June 1, set to unfold across the West Indies and the United States.

During the IPL 2024, Virat Kohli has been topping the run-scorers charts as an opener for Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Yet, his pairing with Rohit Sharma for India in the forthcoming World Cup could make India vulnerable to opposing sides that may field a left-arm fast bowler and spinner duo in response. However, Pathan contends that Jaiswal’s left-handed stance could counter this strategic move. Speaking on the ‘Star Sports Press Room’ show, he stated that having Jaiswal join Sharma at the opening could disrupt the common strategic ploy used by opposition teams and suggested that Jaiswal’s aggressive approach towards the left-arm spinners would be beneficial for the Indian cricket team’s start.

Placement of Kohli at number three, as a result of the Rohit-Jaiswal duo leading the batting line, could see a resurgence of Kohli’s previous difficulties against spin in the post power-play overs. Nevertheless, Kaif has emphasized the remarkable achievements Kohli has had at the third spot in ICC events, indicating the importance of having a seasoned player at that position who can steer the innings from that point. He affirmed that Jaiswal’s aggression complemented by Rohit Sharma’s assertiveness in the power-play overs should pave the way for the Indian batting order starting with Jaiswal, Sharma, followed by Kohli.

Pathan, acclaimed as the Player of the Match during India’s 2007 T20 World Cup win, expressed his dissatisfaction regarding the absence of Rinku Singh and Ravi Bishnoi from the 15-player squad list. Rinku Singh had been a standout finisher for India in 15 T20 Internationals since his inception last year and currently sits as a reserve traveler.

Pathan’s remarks highlighted the high expectations set upon Rinku Singh due to his outstanding strike rate and average, indicating a strong sense of disappointment toward his non-selection. Similarly, Pathan voiced his surprise that Bishnoi, ranked sixth and noted for his fielding talent, was overlooked in favor of a more established spinner like Chahal.

Pathan emphasized the need for the Indian cricket team to adopt an audacious playstyle if they seek to overcome their more-than-a-decade-long World Cup triumph drought. Concurred by Kaif, the ultimate test for the Indian team would lie in their performance during knockout matches, which historically, has been a stumbling block for the squad.

The much-awaited T20 World Cup journey for India is set to commence on June 5, against Ireland, at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York. India, proud champions of the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup and currently situated in Group A, is poised once again to make a mark on the world stage alongside rivals Pakistan, Canada, and joint host USA. As the preparations continue and the cricketing world turns its gaze toward the upcoming spectacle, pundits and fans alike can only speculate on the potential dynamics and outcome of this grand cricketing event.

By IPL Agent

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