T20 World Cup: Would be nice to see Rohit & Virat put together a really good partnership, says Robin Singh


New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) For India’s swashbuckling batters, the USA phase of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup saw them majorly struggle to get going. But with a change in conditions as Super Eights arrive in the West Indies, former India all-rounder Robin Singh said it would be nice to see captain Rohit Sharma and talismanic Virat Kohli put together a good opening partnership.

Barring a laborious 52 against Ireland, Rohit struggled to get going at New York. On the other hand, Kohli amassed only 1 and 4 against Ireland and Pakistan respectively before being dismissed for a duck against USA.

With Kensington Oval, India’s venue for the first Super Eight game against Afghanistan on Thursday night, being witness to a score above 200 recorded by Australia in the World Cup, Robin thinks better things await Rohit and Kohli in the Caribbean.

“I don’t think that’s really an issue, and it’s not only Virat and Rohit. I think everyone who has opened innings in every team really struggled in the conditions provided during the World Cup so far. But I think this is a different format. I mean, they have three games to play.”

“They know exactly where they stand. These guys are seasoned and top of the line players. So, I’m pretty sure one of them is going to deliver. If not both, to be honest. It’d be nice to see both of them actually putting a really good partnership together,” said Robin in an exclusive conversation with IANS.

Playing Rishabh Pant at number three has been a masterstroke in disguise for India, as the wicketkeeper-batter is the side’s leading run-getter with 96 runs in three games, and showing that he’s at his best – whether its carting Haris Rauf for big runs or bringing out a cheeky reverse-sweep against Barry McCarthy.

“I’ve always advocated that you have a left-hander in top three, even if he’s not an opener. So, that makes a huge difference. If you see most of the bowlers, they’re right-arm bowlers. They’re not left-arm bowlers, so, it changes the line totally. In T20, most people struggle a little bit with the lines if you have left and right combinations.”

“So, that makes a huge difference, to be very frank. I don’t know how many people know, but in Barbados also, the wind factor is very strong from one side of the ground. So, that’s going to make a huge difference in the game, especially with spinners coming into play,” added Robin, who played 136 ODIs for India.

Apart from top-ranked batter Suryakumar Yadav, India also have another left-handed batter in Shivam Dube, who’s carved a reputation for himself through his big six-hitting against spinners and more recently, in IPL 2024, against fast-bowlers too. With pitch at Barbados expected to aid seam and spin, Robin is keen to see how Dube fares against Afghanistan’s spin trio of captain Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi and Noor Ahmad.

“Again, it is horses for horses. I mean, the guy has done well. They have backed him to play the World Cup and you need to give him a fair run. If you look at, as I said earlier, the wickets didn’t really allow the batsmen to show how good they were. There was too much assistance with the new ball.”

“But I think the assistance for every single bowler was there throughout the 40 overs of a T20 game, which is not normal, really. So, I think he should do well. He is good at playing spinners. They have a lot of spinners who will come in to play. So, that’s going to make a difference and he is also a left-handed batter who is in pretty good form and looking forward to seeing him if he gets a good opportunity.”

Robin wishes to see Indian batters make use of the short boundary and wind blowing in that direction, and offered a word of caution over weather complicating things during matches in the Caribbean.

“I think everyone will (make use of wind and shorter boundary), whether it’s a bowler or a batsman. But importantly, that is another aspect of the game. What one has to be a little careful about in the Caribbean is the weather conditions.”

“You don’t know, as you have to be very careful with the weather conditions. Suddenly, there might be some rain. So, we don’t know. So, it’s really critical to get the upper hand and win the first game.”

Robin signed off by saying India won’t take Afghanistan for granted, citing their bowling attack faring well so far. With 12 scalps, left-arm fast-bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi is the leading wicket-taker in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup.

“No, I don’t think you can underestimate the Afghanistan team. Their bowlers have done very well. Farooqi has been bowling really well and they have a couple of seasoned fast bowlers as well. But I think in general, they have been a pretty confident team.”

“So, they are probably the dark horses of the tournament. So, it’s really important to be at the top of the game against them, and you have to expect everyone to deliver. So, you can’t take anyone for granted.”



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