Royal Challengers Bangalore batter Virat Kohli (Pic: IPLT20.COM)
Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that young Anuj Rawat might be a better choice to continue as RCB opener in IPL 2022, even though he has not been consistent. He opined that an experienced player like Virat Kohli is needed at No. 3 to handle pressure situations.
22-year-old Rawat scored an impressive fifty in the win over the Mumbai Indians (MI). He has looked good in a few of the other IPL 2022 matches but hasn’t made any substantial contributions.
The left-hander’s place at the top of the order will be under the scanner when Bangalore face the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the DY Patil Stadium on Tuesday.
Previewing the match on ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar said about RCB’s opening quandary:
“Mike Hesson and Faf du Plessis will have to make a decision over whether they want to go back to Virat Kohli or back a youngster like Anuj Rawat, who can be the future of RCB. If Kohli opens, he will get a better platform to face more balls. But they can go the CSK way as well, where a youngster gets chances at the top and experienced batters handle the pressure overs.”
Elaborating on his views, the 56-year-old explained why youngsters have a better chance of succeeding while opening in T20 cricket. He said:
“At No. 3, you need an experienced player who can handle pressure situations and can change gears accordingly in T20s. This applies to numbers four and five as well. There is slightly less pressure while opening. So, RCB must think about this in case they are looking at changing the opening combination.”
Giving the example of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Manjrekar urged RCB to keep backing Rawat for a slightly longer period of time. He stated:
“Ruturaj Gaikwad was also inconsistent, but he got a longer rope because of his good track record. Anuj Rawat is also a promising youngster. If you keep backing such players, they will eventually hit form. And, after that, you must judge whether they can carry on the good run or not. All these youngsters are very talented.”
Rawat has so far scored 125 runs in six IPL 2022 matches at an average of 20.83 and a strike rate of 112.61.
“Faf du Plessis’ failure is one of the big stories of this IPL” – Sanjay Manjrekar on RCB’s skipper form
According to Manjrekar, more than Rawat, it has been Faf du Plessis’ lack of big scores that has been rather surprising. Speaking about the RCB skipper, he said:
“Yes Rawat has not scored in the last 2-3 innings. But Faf du Plessis’ failure is one of the big stories of this IPL. Very rarely has he been out of form for such an extended period of time.”
Since his 88 in Bangalore’s first match against Punjab, Du Plessis has not reached 30 in any of his subsequent knocks in IPL 2022.