Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma confirmed this week that he will open the batting for his team through the entire season of the Indian Premier League.
Criticised for dropping himself down the order last year, Sharma has chosen to step out in the position that’s helped him become one of the best white-ball batsmen in the world.
This move by the 31-year-old was welcomed by three former international cricketers on Friday.
Anil Kumble, Kumar Sangakkara and Scott Styris believe that Sharma should stick to his decision of opening the batting for Mumbai Indians through the entire IPL 2019.
“I feel he [Rohit] should open, without a doubt,” said Sangakkara during the launch of Star Sports Select Dugout 2.0 in Mumbai.
“Rohit Sharma should have opened last year also and I am very happy that he is opening this year. That gives Mumbai Indians the best opportunity of scoring big runs and winning games,” added the former Sri Lanka captain.
Kumble, who was Mumbai Indians’ Chief Mentor from 2013 to ‘15, agreed with Sangakkara and wants Sharma to stand by his decision.
“Mumbai has always had this issue with Rohit [opening],” said the legendary leg-spinner. “When I was there with Mumbai, he batted at four, there was an option [for him] to open the batting. But what Mumbai Indians and Rohit need to decide is if he decides to open, he needs to open for the rest of the tournament.
“Last year, he said the same thing, he wanted to open the innings. Things didn’t go well in the first couple of games and he dropped down, and then again went and opened the batting and again dropped down. So if he decides to open, then he should stay at that position and then play through.”
Former New Zealand all-rounder Styris reckons Sharma’s move to open the batting for Mumbai Indians will help India’s cause at the upcoming ICC World Cup in England.
“In this case he has said he’s going to open and that is good for India,” said Styris. “We know that for the World Cup. He is such a champion at the top of the order.”