"If you have to follow that template, start it now" - Aakash Chopra wants Virat Kohli to start opening from 2nd IND vs AFG T20I

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Virat Kohli has generally batted at No. 3 for India. [P/C: Getty]

Aakash Chopra wants Virat Kohli to start opening for India from the second T20I onwards against Afghanistan in Indore on Sunday, January 14.

Kohli missed the Men in Blue's six-wicket win in the first T20I in Mohali for personal reasons. He has joined the Indian camp and is expected to be a part of the playing XI in the second game.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra opined that Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be best suited to open for India in the 2024 T20 World Cup. He urged the duo to start that role from Sunday's game if the team management is looking to follow that approach, elaborating (1:30):

"If you see the entire World Cup, Virat Kohli has a playing style and he scores a lot of runs when he follows that template. Even in T20s, he rarely starts hitting fours and sixes from the first ball. He takes his time. If he has to run at a strike rate of 150, he does that in the powerplay."

The former India opener added:

"In New York or the West Indies, the pitches will be such that there will be more chances of runs getting scored in the first six overs. So ideally you want Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to be together from the start. If you have to follow that template, start it now."
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Chopra noted that Kohli is technically compact and doesn't need to play extraordinary shots to score quickly in the powerplay. He added that the former India skipper doesn't have any ego issues and won't try to match Rohit's strokeplay.


"You already said that Yashasvi is your first opener alongside Rohit and not Gill" - Aakash Chopra wants Virat Kohli to open ahead of Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill was Rohit Sharma's opening partner in the first T20I against Afghanistan. [P/C: BCCI]
Shubman Gill was Rohit Sharma's opening partner in the first T20I against Afghanistan. [P/C: BCCI]

Aakash Chopra feels India should open with Virat Kohli ahead of Shubman Gill, explaining (3:25):

"You are talking about keeping Yashasvi Jaiswal or Shubman Gill. You wanted to play Gill at No. 3. He opened in the last match because Yashasvi wasn't there, but that's neither your long-term plan nor you have thought anything about it. You already said that Yashasvi is your first opener alongside Rohit and not Gill."

The cricketer-turned-commentator believes Kohli should partner Rohit at the top of the order even if Yashasvi Jaiswal is fit and available. He reasoned:

"So if Yashasvi is available, you will get him to open. However, if you get Yashasvi to open, my problem is not only about Kohli at No. 3. I don't want to keep Suryakumar Yadav at No. 4. I want him at No. 3. Suryakumar Yadav is India's No. 1 T20 batter. So I want him at No. 3 and I want to give him time to drive the game."

Chopra noted that India will have a plethora of middle-order options to choose from if Suryakumar Yadav bats at No. 3 once he is back in the mix. He added that India might even be able to accommodate two left-handers in the middle order if they open with Kohli.

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Edited by Parag Jain
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