Sydney: They are India’s designated Tango and Cash, taking down bowlers mercilessly and giving the team a head start in Power Plays.
The perceived firepower Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul bring to India’s top order is quite envious if you are in opposition ranks, and central to India’s charge in T20 format.
But till date, we have only sparingly seen this pair firing in unison in 2022 leading to the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. The latest instant was against Pakistan when Rahul dragged a delivery from Naseem Shah on to his stumps.
The opening stand lasted just 1.5 overs and lasted produced only 7 runs. Rohit soon departed for 4, falling to Haris Rauf when the team’s score was 10.
We can take it as a microcosm of what has been ailing India’s opening pair this calendar year — fleetingly fiery and icy often.
Stark contrast in individual efforts
It is in stark contrast to their individual efforts in T20Is this year. Rahul has played 11 matches in 2022 and has made 310 runs at an average of 31 with 4 fifties but only 2 of those 50s have come in the company of Rohit. His overall strike rate is 140+ in T20s but this year it has been limited to 128.
On the other hand, we have Rohit who has made 544 runs from 24 matches in 2022 with 2 fifties and while his strike rate of 140.93 the average has shrunk to 24.72.
While a batter does not need to score big every time in T20Is, Rohit making just 2 fifties in 24 innings could just be viewed as a sign of him not kicking on as he would have liked.
A similar case can be sighted for Rahul as well. The first two fifties he made this year ended up getting rather undervalued. The 54 he made against Afghanistan came in a dead rubber as India was already pushed out of the Asia Cup 2022.
Rahul also made a fine 58 off 35 balls against Australia at Mohali but India eventually ended up losing the match.
Only 281 runs in last 10 matches
In the 10 matches they have played together, Rahul and Rohit has made 281 runs at average of 28.10 with 2 fifty partnerships. However, the highest partnership of 96 came against Afghanistan while chasing a target with less than 6 runs per over.
Rohit had said that India management engaged itself in the process of identifying and rectifying the weak areas in the run-up to the T20 World Cup 2022. “We wanted to address all the situations, all the problems, all the issues. But we managed to get some of those right for sure.
“Now, it's time to execute those ideas, those plans that we've been discussing about what are the issues and everything. We've tried to manage — see, no team will be 100 per cent right, but as a team we want to do as many things as possible right,” Rohit had said.
Hopefully, the opening alliance too has been addressed among those things.
Rahul / Rohit (in 2022): 1 Vs Pak, 38 vs HK, 54 vs Pak, 11 vs SL, 21 vs Aus, 39 vs Aus, 5 vs Aus, 9 vs SA, 96 vs SA, 7 vs Pak.