Ganguly backs Kohli to get 40-ball 100, wants him to open with Rohit in WC

Ganguly backs Kohli to get 40-ball 100, wants him to open with Rohit in WC
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New Delhi: Virat Kohli is very much capable of getting a 40-ball-100 like Travis Head and he should open the batting with India skipper Rohit Sharma in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Americas, former captain Sourav Ganguly said on Monday.
Kohli recently scored a 67-ball-100 against Rajasthan Royals but received flak because of his strike-rate at a time when openers from other teams are taking anything between 39 to 50 balls to hit the three-figure mark.
"Virat Kohli has got the capability of getting a 40-ball 100 also. As I said at the start, India, with the talent they have, you just need to go and hit. Mindset should be to hit and then we'll see what happens after 5-6 overs," Ganguly told PTI during a select media interaction.
While Ganguly would like the selection committee, coach Rahul Dravid and Rohit to take decisions in the best interest of the team during the T20 World Cup, he would ideally like to see the Kohli-Rohit opening combination.
"If you ask me and it's just my personal opinion and I'm not saying that the selectors should do it, because at the end of the day, it's their call, Rohit and Virat should open."
After a magnificent home Test series against England, has Yashasvi Jaiswal fallen off the radar in terms of T20 World Cup selection, taking his recent IPL form into account?
"I don't think Yashasvi's name has dropped too far down the ladder. He's a special player," Ganguly replied.
For him, selection for T20 World Cup shouldn't be based on one IPL season.
"You have to look at every performance. A good team is a balance of experience and youth. Experienced players in India are tremendous and I'm not saying only because of the number of games they have played but it's the performances they've put over a period of time. It's unbelievable.
"So from that point of view, it has to be a mixture of young and youth. I'm sure the selectors are matured enough to see over a period of time, not just one IPL, but 2, 3, 4 IPLs.
"Like someone like Shivam Dube, he did it last year also. You gave him a chance for India, he whacked it there also. So they've done it over a period of time, Rishabh Pant, Dubey, Surya," Ganguly gave his view point.
Rohit is nearing 37, Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja will be 36 by the end of this year. Does he feel that there is need for ushering in more young blood in the team?
"There's nothing about young and old, It's about how good you are and that is important for me. How is Jimmy Anderson playing Test cricket as a fast bowler at 41 and bowling 30 overs in an innings in a Test match?
"So there is no hard and fast rule for anything. The only hard and fast rule is talent, ability and performance. Look at MS Dhoni. He bats for 2 overs and hits 4 sixes. I would actually want him to bat more, but just see how good he is."
KL should just be fearless
Ganguly has always been a big advocate of KL Rahul's talent and his range of strokes, and the only thing he wants from the LSG skipper is fearlessness.
"But for India, the most important thing in T20 cricket and I said that to Rahul in Australia (T20 World Cup) also, just play without fear. Just go and hit. There is long batting. You can always control if you lose wickets, but just go and hit."
So what is it that Rahul should change?
"I think it depends on what the captain and the coach instructs him to do in the middle. The other day I saw him play an innings against Chennai, which Lucknow won, I thought he was exceptional.
He played well at the top of the order and did exactly that was required to do at that moment.
"As I said, it's about playing freely and playing without fear. That is a must in T20 cricket. Players like Virat, Rohit, Rishabh (Pant), Rahul, Surya (Yadav), Hardik (Pandya), Shivam Dube of CSK. They are exceptional talent, the six-hitting ability in all of them is enormous."
Can old wine work in a new bottle?
After India's disastrous semi-final show and insipid batting in the 2022 World T20 edition in Australia, barring one special effort from Virat Kohli against Pakistan, there was a call for getting younger people with a fearless mindset for the shortest format and allow the players to express themselves without inhibition.
But after two years, almost the same core team is once again going into another global event in the shortest format. Can the same set of people with a set mindset change themselves?
The Delhi Capitals team director, who was also a former BCCI president, advised the Indian team to just play "fearless cricket", something that Rohit did during the power play of the ODI World Cup in 2023 and set the tone for India's stellar campaign that ended in a heartbreaking defeat in the final.
"It's not drastic change. They have the talent to do that change. We saw how Rohit Sharma batted in the 50 over World Cup. He just came and hit at the top and that's why we were such a good side.
"He just put so much pressure on the opposition in the first 7-8 overs, it gave breathing space to the lower-order, and I think Virat and Rohit should do the same. They are great players.