The KL Rahul against Shikhar dhawan The debate was the main topic of discussion before the first T20I. With the five-game series seen as preparation for the T20 World Cup later this year, India and England will be keen to put their combinations in order.
Speaking at a virtual press conference ahead of the first T20I in Ahmedabad, the Indian captain closed the opening debate. When asked if KL Rahul and Dhawan could fit into the game eleven, Kohli said:
“I don’t think so (KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan can play together).”
Elaborating further, Kohli said KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are the first choice openers. He said in this regard:
“KL and Rohit have always been at the top of the order for us, and these two will start. If Rohit is taking a rest, or KL has a problem or something, then Shikhi (Shikhar Dhawan) obviously comes back. He enters as the third opener. But the starting lineup, Rohit and Rahul will be the ones to start.
Why KL Rahul has the advantage over Shikhar Dhawan
KL Rahul has an excellent T20I record. In 45 matches, the 28-year-old has scored 1,542 points with an average of 44.05 and a strike rate of 144.92. Apart from 12 1950s, it also has two centuries to its name.
In comparison, Dhawan was not as successful in the T20Is. In 64 games, the southpaw has 1,669 points under his belt, averaging 28.28 with a strike rate of 128.28. Additionally, despite being an opener, Shikhar Dhawan has yet to score a hundred in the game’s shortest form.
Former Indian drummer VVS Laxman also felt that KL Rahul should be Rohit Sharma’s preferred opening partner. On an episode of Star Sports’ Cricket Connected, Laxman provided his take on the KL Rahul vs Shikhar Dhawan debate, saying in this regard:
“This is going to be a tough question as far as the selection of the second opener is concerned; there is no doubt about it because Rohit Sharma is an automatic pick in white ball cricket. But I will continue with KL Rahul because more at Over the last few months and years, I think the management of the Indian team has chosen KL Rahul as their lead batsman, and he has done very well in this position.
While Rishabh Pant is back in the T20I squad, KL Rahul can also keep wickets, if needed.