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Irfan Pathan and Mohammad Kaif support Yashasvi Jaiswal as Rohit Shamra’s opening partner for India in the T20 Wor;d Cup

Former Indian cricketers Irfan Pathan and Mohammad Kaif have backed youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal as captain Rohit Sharma’s opening partner for India in the upcoming 2024 T20 World Cup to be held in the West Indies and the US from June 1.

Kohli led the charts in the IPL 2024 as an opener for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, but his opening with Rohit for India in the T20 World Cup could see teams get a fast bowler and left-arm spinner match-up. However, Pathan believes Jaiswal’s opening with Rohit will help India tackle this match in the T20 World Cup.

Complete list of T20 World Cup 2024 squads

“It’s a question that floats around a lot. It should be Yashasvi Jaiswal. Since he is a left-hander, from a bowling perspective a team will start with a left-arm spinner and if that happens you can actually play these two batters. If Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli open up, because there has been a lot of talk about it, you can keep them quiet for a period of time.

“If you do that, the game is over, especially in the beginning and this is where a left-handed batsman in Yashasvi Jaiswal comes into the picture. He is aggressive and can also handle the threat of a left-arm spinner. So I think Yashasvi should open with Rohit Sharma,” Pathan said while replying to a question from IANS in the latest episode of the ‘Star Sports Press Room’ show.

However, the Rohit-Jaiswal combination will also see Kohli bat at number three, which would mean his struggle against spin could surface again in the post-powerplay phase. But Kaif believes Kohli’s previous astonishing success for India in ICC tournaments at number three is still a very big factor.

“I would see Jaiswal and Rohit opening as Kohli should be at number three. Although he opens in the IPL, Kohli has done well in ICC events at number three. You need someone who has experience at number three and can strike through. With Yashasvi opening and Kohli in the dugout, there will be pressure on the opposition team that Virat is yet to get going.”


“If he opens and the opposition takes him out, that will be a big confidence boost for them. Jaiswal will attack from the first ball and Rohit Sharma will also attack in powerplay, then it should be like this: Jaiswal, Rohit and Virat Kohli at number three,” he added.

Pathan, the Player of the Match in India’s 2007 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan in Johannesburg, remained disappointed at the omission of Rinku Singh and Ravi Bishnoi in the 15-man squad. Rinku, an in-form finisher for India in 15 T20Is since his debut last year, has been named in the traveling reserves.

“I am very disappointed that Rinku Singh is not here. It is because Rinku Singh played a crucial role in completing the game – he did it for his franchise (Kolkata Knight Riders) last year and when he played for India, he played that role too.”

“Once you have a pass rate of 170+ and an average of almost 60-70, and then you don’t get chosen, you will be very disappointed. I thought Bishnoi, despite being number six in the rankings, lacks a master spinner like Chahal even though he has that fielding ability too. So those were the two things I had in mind when I saw this team.”

At the same time, Pathan believes that India needs to play cricket in a spirited manner if the country wants to end its more than decade-long drought of World Cup victories. “The boys who have been selected must perform when time comes under pressure. I’m not worried about the first half; what matters is when the knockout matches will take place. This is where I want the Indian team to play fearless cricket, which we missed in the last two World Cups – 50-over and 20-over in Australia.”

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Kaif agreed with Pathan’s views and opined that India’s real test will be winning knockout matches, something they have not been able to do yet. “They are a very balanced team, but this is not the IPL, where you play 14 league matches and come back to win the trophy even after losing games.”

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  • “In the World Cup you meet weaker teams in the early stages of the tournament until you meet teams like Pakistan and England in the semi-finals. You have to win two big matches to win the trophy and are you ready for that big moment? India has not done that in the past and that is the real challenge for Rohit Sharma.”

    India will start their T20 Men’s World Cup campaign on June 5 against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. India, the winners of the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup, are in Group A alongside Pakistan, Canada and the tournament’s co-hosts, the United States.

    (This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – IANS)

    Ritayan Basu

    Ritayan Basu, senior sub-editor, sports at Relates to domestici

    first print: May 1, 2024, 8:38 PM IST