New Delhi, May 19: Expressing his concern over Rohit Sharma's form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin feels the India batsman might struggle opening innings at the Champions Trophy 2017.
Azharuddin did not like the Mumbai Indians skipper's decision of batting in the middle-order in the IPL for that will affect his performance in the upcoming ICC event where he'll open the innings for India.
Azharuddin was quoted by DNA as saying, "When you are an opening batsman, you should open. I always feel that the best players should play the first 20 overs. If your best batsmen are playing after 8-10 overs in T20s and after 30 overs in a 50-overs game, there's no use. Rohit Sharma is a good player, and I was very surprised to see him bat at No. 3 or 4 or 5 (for MI)."
The 50-over global tournament will be played in England and Wales from June 1 to 18. The practice games are held from May 26 to 30.
India will play 2 warm-up games, on May 28 (Sunday) and 30 (Tuesday). The opponents are New Zealand and Bangladesh.
Rohit will have these two games to get into the grooves for he'll be team's regular opener with Ajinkya Rahane or Shikhar Dhawan.
"He has to get used to the spot quickly. It's going to be tough for him to straightaway go and open because the conditions are different and he is coming back from an injury. All these things will play on his mind," the former stylish batsman from Hyderabad added further.
When asked about India's chances of defending the Champions Trophy title, Azhar said he will be disappointed if the Men in Blue return empty handed.
"I will be very disappointed if they don't win the tournament. They've got the ammunition. We've got the best batting, the best fast bowlers, and we've also got the best spinners," he said.