safari staff
09 Jan 2023 | 03:02 PM

I have not given up on T20Is, will see after IPL: Rohit Sharma

The Indian skipper also made it clear that Gil and Iyer will be preferred over Kishan and SKY in the ODI series against Sri Lanka

Wicketkeeper-batter from Jharkhand Ishan Kishan smoked a double century in his last One-Day International but Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has made it clear that it’s going to be Shubman Gill who will get a long run before this year’s 50-over World Cup.

In 2022, Kishan averaged 59.57 with a strike rate of 109.73, while Gill averaged 70.88 but with a comparatively lesser strike rate of 102.57. The latter has been extremely consistent in this format but was not part of the three-match series in Bangladesh.

"Both openers have done really well. But looking at how both openers have gone through, it's fair that we give Gill a chance to have a good run. Gill has got a lot of runs in the last few games, so has Ishan," said Rohit ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Guwahati on Tuesday (January 10).

"I am not going to take anything away from him (Ishan). He's been wonderful for us, got a double hundred. And, I know what it takes to get a double hundred, it is a great achievement. But just to be honest and fair to the guys who have done really well before, we need to give those guys enough chances as well before we make that call. 

“It's unfortunate that we won't be able to play Ishan. But looking at how things have panned out for us in the last eight-nine months and how the ODIs have gone through for us, it's fair to give Gill that run and he's done extremely well in that position."

But Rohit assured that Kishan will remain very much in the mix. "Yes, Ishan is certainly going to miss out but it is very unfortunate. But that does not rule out anything. We are going to try and keep everyone in the mix and see how it pans out for us as we play a lot of games ahead."

The management would also be very tempted to give Suryakumar Yadav a run in the 50-over format. The top-ranked T20I batter has been in phenomenal form in the shortest format of the game and slammed a fifty and a century in the T20I series against Sri Lanka. 

Now that Kishan is out of the mix, KL Rahul will keep wickets and bat at No. 5. Hardik Pandya is also a certainty and it would be a crime to drop Shreyas Iyer. In 2022, Iyer hammered 724 runs in 15 innings at an average of 55.69 and a strike rate of 91.5. Meanwhile, SKY averages only 32 in his 16-ODI career so far, but what he has been doing in T20Is would be tough to ignore.

"Those guys who have performed will get a run. It is as simple as that. Sometimes it's hard when we compare guys performing in different formats. I do understand the form. Form is important and so is the format," Rohit added.

The Indian captain said it's important not to "mix up" the two white-ball formats. "Look, I think it's a great headache (choice between Surya and Shreyas) to have rather than having no headache. Honestly, we will look at the performance of the guys who have done really well. The problem happens when we start comparing different formats to different formats.

"ODI is a different format, slightly longer than T20I and we are very clear that the guys who have done well will definitely get the opportunities. We are very clear about giving opportunities to the guys who have done really well. That is what is going to happen as we move forward, play these six ODIs (Sri Lanka and New Zealand). The guys who are doing well will also get a lot of opportunities.

"We will have to look at who's done well in the ODI format for us, and in what situation they have done well. They've been under pressure and gone on to score runs. All those things we need to count before we make that call. This is something we're going to do before making that call -- to try and capture everything that has happened in the last eight-nine months.”

The 35-year-old also spoke about his T20I career and said he has no plans to "give up on T20 Internationals" after a debacle in Australia. The likes of Rohit, Kohli and Rahul were not part of the T20I set-up that took on Sri Lanka and it was Pandya who was given the captaincy.

There have been various reports suggesting that the selectors want to build a young side for the 2024 T20 World Cup under Pandya’s leadership. India won’t be playing too many T20Is this year as the focus will largely be on the 50-over format. 

"We have only six T20Is, three are over. So we'll manage, you know to look after those boys till IPL. Then we'll see what happens after the IPL. But certainly, I've not decided to give up the format," said Rohit.

"At the moment I think it was made clear in the past that it's a 50-over World Cup year for us. And for some of the guys it's not possible to play all formats. If you look at the schedule, there were back-to-back matches, so we decided on just looking at some players' workload that we wanted to make sure that they get enough break time and manage them. I definitely fall in that (category) as well."

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