There have been times when Rohit Sharma has given up his preferred opening spot to add stability to the Mumbai Indians middle-order, but the MI captain hinted that he will be starting as an opener when IPL 2020 kickstarts with the defending champions taking on CSK in the tournament opener on September 19. That said, Rohit mentioned that he will keep options open as far as his batting position is concerned.
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Rohit, who opened throughout the last edition, said he is ready to bat anywhere based on the demands of the team management.
“I think I opened the entire tournament last year and will continue to do that even in this year,” Rohit said responding to a question of Hindustan Times during a virtual press conference organised by the franchise on Thursday.
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Rohit, whose career took an upward turn when he began opening the batting regularly for India in limited-overs cricket, said he enjoys batting at the top.
“I keep all the options open, whatever the team wants, I’m happy to do that. I enjoy batting at the top of the order, I’ve been doing that for a while, I really enjoy that. Even when I play for India, the message from my side to the management is that do not close any doors keep all the options open, I’ll do that here as well,” he said.
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In the 2017 and 2018 editions of the IPL, Rohit opened only twice in 30 innings. The move did not turn out well as the dynamic right-hander scored only 333 runs at an average of 23.78 in 2017 – when he did not open in the entire tournament – and 286 runs at an average of 23.83. These two IPL seasons have been Rohit’s worst in terms runs, average and strike-rate.
Rohit’s numbers improved in the last edition when he decided to go back at the top, scoring 405 runs at an average of 28.92.
Last year, Rohit’s opening partner was South Africa wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock. While MI have bolstered their squad with the addition of Australia opener Chris Lynn and they also have Ishan Kishan, who has achieved a lot of success at the top of the order, MI head coach Mahela Jayawardena said they will stick to the Rohit-de Kock combination at the start.
“Having options in the squad is always great Lynn is obvious a great addition. Quinton has been phenomenal for us, his combination with Rohit has really worked. So why fix something when it’s not broke? So we’ll look to continue with that,” Jayawardene said.
“But having Lynny as an option gives us flexibility. We try and add more value to the team so that we are not predictable. But definitely Quinton and Ro have been a great combination for us.”