Given the recent struggles of Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill at the top of the order for Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunil Gavaskar has suggested a new opening pair for the team. The former Indian batsman believes there is a case for KKR to try Rahul Tripathi and Sunil Narine as openers in IPL 2021.
KKR registered their second win of the season against the Punjab Kings on Monday night. But they suffered early blows again while batting, with Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana scoring 9 and 0 respectively.
Shubman Gill, in particular, has looked out of form, scoring just 89 runs in six games in IPL 2021. Sunil Gavaskar said in this regard that KKR should look to change their opening combination.
"I think KKR have to make up their minds whether Sunil Narine opens the batting with Shubman Gill or Rahul Tripathi opens the batting. With Shubman Gill also – struggling and not quite there; maybe there is a case for Tripathi to open with Sunil Narine," Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
The former India captain went on to highlight how Nitish Rana has been successful at the no.3 spot in the past.
"Nitish Rana, in the years that he has been very successful for KKR, he has been batting at No.3. So, if Rahul Tripathi can open the batting, which he used to do earlier on for the other franchises, maybe that’s the way to go for him (Rana)," Gavaskar added.
The opening pair of Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill have provided partnerships of 53, 72, 23, 1, 24, 5 in IPL 2021 so far. Gill has gone past the 20-run mark in just two IPL 2021 games.
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"Shubman Gill will be one of the highest-scoring individuals by the end of the tournament" - David Hussey
Shubman Gill's form would have been a major disappointment for KKR as a lot was expected from the youngster following his exploits against Australia.
However, KKR chief mentor David Hussey is still confident that Gill will finish as one of the tournament's top run-scorers.
"He's got a great work ethic and I reckon all I can say is probably form will come and go, but class is always permanent. He is one class individual off the field but also an exceptionally talented player on the field. Mark my words he'll be one of the highest-scoring individuals by the end of the tournament. He's an absolute class act," Hussey said after KKR's defeat against Rajasthan Royals.
The 21-year-old has so far scored runs at an average of 14.83 in IPL 2021, with his best score being 33. If he wants to make Hussey's prediction come true, Gill will have to score heavily in the second half of the tournament.