File photo of Matthew Hayden© Twitter

The countdown for the 2022 T20 World Cup has begun. All the teams have named their respective squads and the final stage of preparation has already begun. The Indian cricket team had a hiccup in the preparation phase for the marquee event as it bowed out of the Asia Cup without qualifying for the final. However, one big positive for the Rohit Sharma-led side was Virat Kohli ending his 1020-day century drought. The former India captain scored 122* against Afghanistan while opening the batting in a Super 4 match. That innings has led many to ponder on whether the superstar should continue in that position.

Former Australian cricket team opener Matthew Hayden, however, shut down any discussion on Kohli’s position in the Indian T20I team.

“And this great debate around Virat batting up, GG (Gambhir) and I have already had this over the last couple of days, there’s no way that he has to open the batting, he has to bat at number 3, simple as that. And again, it’s another one of those things that you don’t want to let the door open the discussion on this,” Hayden said in a virtual press conference organised by Star Sports

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“You don’t want to have a doubt, you don’t want to have KL Rahul in the masterful form that he’s been in of late and Rohit Sharma who is captain of the team thinking ‘I’ve got to kind of watch my spot here that you know I’m an opening batsmen and my job is to play with freedom’ and unfortunately, when you start having these debates and you start thinking ‘oh maybe he, for his game, it should be him opening’, I’m sure he wouldn’t want to entertain that and put pressure. The one thing that you want to alleviate in the World Cup is the pressure. Just let the batting order rely on its own form and Virat Kohli can handle the situation. He’s a world class player, he can bat at three and he should bat at three in my opinion.”

India start their T20 World Cup campaign with a game against Pakistan on October 23.

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