IPL 2022: "It may just free him up" - Daniel Vettori backs idea of Rohit Sharma shifting down the order for Mumbai IndiansΒ 

Daniel Vettori (L) and Rohit Sharma.
Daniel Vettori (L) and Rohit Sharma.
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Rudransh Khurana

Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is open to the idea of out-of-form Rohit Sharma shifting down the batting order for the rest of IPL 2022. Vettori feels batting at No. 3 or No. 4 rather than opening could bring a fresh impetus to the Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper's game and "may just free him up".

Since scoring 42 in the team's first match of the season against the Delhi Capitals (DC), Rohit has looked caught-up between playing responsibly and taking the attack to the bowlers early on. He hasn't crossed the 30-run mark in the last six games, registering three single-digit scores, including a duck in the most recent clash against Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

Vettori's comments came while speaking to ESPNcricinfo ahead of the Mumbai Indians' match against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) on Sunday. He admitted that it would be a difficult decision to make as Rohit opens for India, but added that after MI's seven straight losses, "it might be the right answer" to turning the tide.

He explained:

"Potentially, we've seen in the past some down at three or four and it may just free him up, [going] away from a role he's so used to. I think with Rohit Sharma, he opens for India, he's captain of India, it's hard to put yourself down the order in these situations. But after the season they have had, it might be the right answer."

Australian batter Chris Lynn, who has previously opened alongside Rohit for the Mumbai Indians, also opined on the subject in the same interaction. He disagreed with Vettori, suggesting the skipper doesn't need a shift in batting position, but should take "a break" away from bio-bubbles to play with the freedom.

Lynn said:

"We have seen him throughout the IPL, when he's gone through form slums, he'd move up and down the batting order but at the end he has cemented India's opening position. So I feel he's a little bit flat due to bubble fatigue. He does need a break, you know, he's human after all. But I think the best place for him bat and play with that freedom is up at the top."
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Rohit's IPL record is slightly better as a middle-order batter. At No. 4, where he has batted the most in the tournament. He averages 32.77 and strikes at 128.67. Both go up to 33.12 and 143.62 respectively at No. 5, where he has played 22 innings. As an opener, his average and strike rate reads 30.25 and 129.11, respectively.

"An opportunity to blood the young players" - Chris Lynn on the way ahead for Rohit Sharma and Co.

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Mumbai Indians are all but out of the playoffs race. Even if they win their next seven games, they'll have to depend on other results going in their favor to finish in the top four. Finding motivation can be hard in such situations, but Lynn suggests MI see it as an opportunity to test different combinations, look at players like Tim David and give chances to young players on the bench. He said:

"I think it's an opportunity to blood the young players but also use the expensive players they bought at the auction. I think that's a no brainer for me. Use your Tim Davids, your high-priced players. That's what they are there to do."

Mumbai Indians' clash against Lucknow Super Giants will commence at 7:30 pm IST at the Wankhede Stadium.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
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