Rohit Sharma: ‘I will open the batting for all the games’

Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians captain, will play as an opener this season keeping in mind his role for the World Cup.

Rohit Sharma at an interaction with the media in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians captain, has declared he will play the Indian Premier League (IPL) as an opener for his team.

“This year I will open the batting for all the games, that is for sure,” Rohit said here on Tuesday.

He revealed that his decision was taken keeping in mind his role for the Indian team for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. “[The World Cup] is one of the factors but also keeping in mind that this is where I bat and this is my position when I play for India also. And that is where I got a lot of success of late,” Rohit said.

Even though he opens the batting for the national team, in the IPL so far, Rohit had played at No. 4. He hinted it was done to steady to middle-order. “In the past I have batted in the middle-order and I have also opened in a few games. But whatever the team requires and wherever it wants me to bat, I will bat in that position to make sure that we get the right balance and the right composition of the team as well,” he said.

Read | 'You have to listen to your body' - Rohit Sharma on IPL workload

He added: “As a team also the composition of players we have right now we have got some experience in the middle-order and that allows me to go and bat at the top of the order. This is probably the season where I am going to do that.”

Middle-order slot for Yuvraj?

Yuvraj Singh could instead be used to hold fort in the middle order, according to Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians’ Director of Cricket Operations. “Bringing Yuvi has been a boost for the match-winning ability he has. In our discussions leading up to the auction, we have identified that we need an experienced batsman who can control the game in the middle. Since Rohit has decided, and we all are backing him to go and open the innings. We need that experience in the middle-order and who better than Yuvraj Singh?,” said Zaheer.

Read | Vijay Shankar at No. 4 for World Cup?

He added: “He is looking good at the nets and we are very happy with him. He is looking forward to making an impact in this IPL. That’s great news for all fans of Yuvraj and [Mumbai Indians].”

Yuvraj, now 37, went unsold in the first round of the IPL auction held in December, 2018, before being bought by Mumbai Indians for ₹one crore, his base price. Zaheer brushed aside the first-round snub. “The auction dynamics are such that we should not think who went unsold. There are players who go unsold in the first round, even I went unsold [during my playing days]. [A] lot of franchises approach it in a strategic manner. Auction dynamics is such where you have to go for few things first and then look for the x-factors and experienced players depending on the purse you have,” he contended.

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