I see Virat batting at No.3 against Afghanistan: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes one may see talismanic batter Virat Kohli batting at number three in the T20I series opener against Afghanistan,

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Former India opener Aakash Chopra believes one may see talismanic batter Virat Kohli batting at number three in the T20I series opener against Afghanistan, though he feels that the right-handed batter is more suited to open the batting.

Along with captain Rohit Sharma, Kohli is making a return to India’s T20I team after his last appearance in the format came in the semi-final defeat to England in the Men’s T20 World Cup in November 2022.

Their selection for the Afghanistan series, starting from Thursday in Mohali, means they are now back in plans for 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup, happening in USA and West Indies from June 1-29. The series against Afghanistan is India’s last series in the format before the World Cup.

“In my opinion, Kohli is at his best in T20s when he opens the innings and bats in the powerplay overs. If you don’t give him that option and if he becomes a little slow against spinners, then it wouldn’t be surprising. That’s because it has happened regularly.”

“So, will Kohli open? I don’t think so. I feel one of either Yashasvi (Jaiswal) or (Shubman) Gill will play. Gill is a senior player so he may play and Yashasvi will have to sit out. It won’t be fair, but that can happen. I see Kohli batting at No. 3,” said Chopra in an episode of ‘#AAKASHVANI’ on JioCinema.

He also cautioned India over taking Afghanistan lightly in T20Is. “No one takes them lightly. During the ODI World Cup they showed that they are a force to be reckoned with. And this team excels in the T20 format. Almost all their players will be featuring in the IPL. It’s a very decent team. Of course, India will start as firm favourites.”

On what India will be aiming to take from Afghanistan series, Chopra said, “More than the result of the series, the focus will be mainly on how Rohit plays, can Kohli continue with the same form that he displayed in 2023, who will open, will Shivam Dube get an opportunity? These are the big questions.”

He signed off by saying chasing will be preferable in Mohali. “The dew factor is definitely going to come into play later in the evening. The pitch will be flat and I feel a lot of runs will be scored. The ball will become wet in the evening so I feel chasing will be a better option.”

–IANS

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