In the series against England, India opened with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma for the first time in the fifth match of the home T20 series against England in March this year, raising a 94-run partnership, and then Kohli also opened for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2021. Kohli had reasoned Suryakumar Yadav's X-factor as the differentiator in the selection process and now former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar backed the assertion.
"Yes, I think he (Surya) is one of the front-runners, especially with the news coming out that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are going to be India's openers. There could be a number three slot open for me," Manjrekar said during a virtual interaction.
"I don't know what plan they have with (KL) Rahul, there certainly is a place for someone like Suryakumar Yadav. I have rarely seen somebody bat like that in the IPL for the whole season and even more, the kind of batsmanship we have seen. And makes him an ideal number three, he can hit good balls for fours, certainly one of the options," he added.
The T20 World Cup has been moved to UAE and Oman from India. Talking about the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, starting July 13, Manjrekar said he would prefer a more consistent Ishan Kishan instead of Sanju Samson as the back-up wicket-keeper. According to the Mumbaikar, the skills behind the wickets hold more significance in Test cricket, so in white-ball formats having a quality batsman is a much better option.
"Ishan Kishan is my choice, purely because I am going for the more consistent batter. In ODI cricket keeping is not as crucial as it is in Test matches, in T20s it is not that vital, so you are really making a choice of a better batter," Manjrekar said.
"Samson is incredible when he gets going, there is nobody better than him but consistency is a very important criterion for me and that is where I would like to back somebody like Ishan Kishan before I look at Sanju Samson," he added.
According to the former batsman, the Sri Lanka tour will also be important for spinner Kuldeep Yadav. "I am actually very happy with the way the selection has been made. It is nice to see that Kuldeep Yadav has been brought back. In the last year or in a couple of years, he lost his place. In the Indian white-ball team, there was a time he was a game-changer along with (Yuzvendra) Chahal. It is nice that the selectors have given him the opportunity to stake his claim because he hardly plays for IPL. He has a chance and he will have to compete for a place in that Indian T20 World Cup side. He has to prove that he can be a better option."