Renowned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar acknowledged the contributions of Josh Philippe but claimed that he would like to see RCB open with Kohli and Padikkal to allow the former more time to settle before switching gears. Manjrekar also urged the misfiring DC batsmen to lend support to Dhawan.
After opening with Aaron Finch and Devdutt Padikkal for the first 11 games of the season, RCB finally pulled the plug on the Australian limited-overs skipper in game 12 and replaced him with young Josh Philippe. Philippe impressed in both his outings, scoring 33 and 32, but the youngster’s inability to make starts count has once again seen talks about RCB’s opening pair resurface.
Finch, Moeen Ali and Washington Sundar have been talked up as potential candidates to partner Paddikal, but previewing the all-important RCB vs DC encounter on Monday, Sanjay Manjrekar opined that he would love to see RCB open with Kohli and Paddikal. According to the renowned commentator, such a move would give Virat more time to play himself in before he decides to pull the trigger.
“The kind of players RCB have got together, they will always feel the pressure against good sides. Philippe has been opening with Padikkal and Virat Kohli has been opening and I feel it’s not an ideal number for someone like a Virat. It is unlikely, but I would like to see Virat open with Padikkal so that he has a little more time to get going,” Manjrekar said on ESPN Cricinfo’s T20 Time out.
Barring their woes in the middle-order, RCB’s bowling, of late, has also been a concern for the side, with all three of CSK, MI and SRH chasing totals down against their bowling attack without breaking a sweat. But despite the RCB bowlers largely misfiring, Manjrekar believes Isuru Udana has been a shining light for the Reds. The 55-year-old feels that the Sri Lankan has proved to be invaluable to the side with his change-ups and believes that in a side which has out-and-out seamers like Saini and Siraj, the presence of Udana is a must.
“I think Udana has done really well. The problem with RCB is that they’ve got Mohammad Siraj and Saini, who is not your stingy four-over bowler. Saini is going at almost 9 runs an over and his average is also really high. So they need to have somebody like an Udana who takes pace off and brings a bit of control. So when you look at the other two seamers in the side, Udana is an absolute must and it would be unfair to leave him out.”
Delhi Capitals have woes of their own, too, not least the form of their entire batting unit. What has hurt the most though is the drop in form of Shikhar Dhawan, who after scoring back-to-back tons registered three single-digit scores, but according to Manjrekar, it is up to the other batsmen to take responsibility and ensure Dhawan is not bogged down by the responsibility of carrying the side.
“Dhawan is not the kind of player who will mould his game according to what is happening around him. The moment you put the burden on him, to take care of the others when they’re not playing well, then he is going to be a bit confused. I don’t think he has that kind of ability as a player to be malleable. So I’d rather put the onus on the guys that are failing, than asking Dhawan to do anything different.”
DC will take on RCB in Abu Dhabi later today in a match which could very well see the loser exit the tournament.