KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma are first choice opening partners for England T20Is, Shikhar Dhawan has to wait: Devang Gandhi

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma are first choice opening partners for England T20Is, Shikhar Dhawan has to wait: Devang Gandhi

Gandhi also lauded Suryakumar Yadav, who got his maiden call-up in the T20Is against England.

KL Rahul & Rohit Sharma
KL Rahul & Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former Team India selector Devang Gandhi reckons that Shikhar Dhawan isn’t India’s first-choice opener anymore in the T20 format. The veteran believes that Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul would be the opening partners in the upcoming T20I series against England, starting March 12 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

However, the 49-year-old Gandhi, who played four Tests and three ODIs for India from 1999 to 2000, feels that Dhawan is likely to be in the reserves in case an injury concern pops up in India’s batting department. Shikhar has gone out of contention from the Test team as well.

Shikhar Dhawan will be the reserve opener: Ex India selector

“KL and Rohit are your opening pair in T20s going into the World T20. Shikhar will be the reserve opener and will have to wait for his turn. Maybe during the ODIs, he can be given a chance if the ODIs are also treated as an extension of T20 preparation,” Gandhi was quoted as saying by The Times of India (TOI).

Rahul and Rohit have flourished for India in the T20 format in the last 12 months or so. The duo was also in stupendous form during their stints in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). Even as Rahul ended as the Orange Cap holder, playing for Punjab Kings, Rohit’s Mumbai Indians became the IPL champions for the fifth time.

Gandhi also lauded Suryakumar Yadav, who got his maiden call-up in the T20Is against England. Surya also played a key role in MI’s title-winning campaign in 2020. Gandhi feels that Yadav should be given adequate chances if the latter is being looked at for the T20 World Cup later this year.

“Surya has had tremendous success for Mumbai Indians in the IPL batting at that particular slot. If you are looking at him going into the World T20, give him as many games as possible in the lead-up. He should also be kept in the ODI squad,” he stated.

Gandhi was also of the opinion that Yadav could be slotted at number five in the Indian batting lineup with Rishabh Pant positioned at number four. Surya has also been a stalwart for Mumbai in domestic cricket.