India's worries at the World Twenty20 don't just end with their bowling attack being the weakest. They also have an opening pair that can do so much, but is doing very little.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are amongst the greatest openers India have produced and combine into one of the most dangerous opening partnerships in the last few years in world cricket, across all formats. Amongst the top six opening pairs in terms of runs in international cricket, this pair is the only one to have managed a 50-plus average (52.69 in Tests and 51.74 in ODIs).

However, in the 18-month period since the 2011 World Cup, the duo seems to have lost their mojo. The Delhi pair's opening average of 54.90 has dropped to 50.32. And that seems to be hurting Indian cricket big time. Sample this: In 17 partnerships for the first wicket this year, Gambhir and Sehwag have aggregated 379 at an average of 22.29, including two fifties.

In this period, Gambhir has aggregated just 1044 runs in 26 games @ 37.28, while Sehwag has been worse, with 500 runs in 17 games @ 23.80. Gambhir at least has a couple of fifties and seven hundreds against his name in this phase, while Sehwag just has a couple of fifties to talk about. They have been 'consistently inconsistent.' To make matters worse, there were rumours that both were embroiled in a rift with skipper MS Dhoni.

On Monday, in the warm-up game against Pakistan, Gambhir managed 10, while Sehwag, despite looking good for a big score, managed just 26.

On Wednesday, Gambhir scored 10 before playing on, while Sehwag, after getting beaten numerous times by left-arm pacer Shapoor Zadran, was caught behind off a beauty for eight. It might seem unfair to criticise such great players after just one game into the tournament, but, the fact is, it is high time they got back to their best individually and as a pair.

Since the World Cup triumph last year, Sehwag, 33, has hit just one hundred, which was the record 219 against West Indies in an ODI at Indore. His average in this period is a lowly 31.25, while Gambhir's is slightly better at 33.68.

India need more from them, since their failures are putting too much pressure on the hugely consistent Virat Kohli, who could succumb to the law of averages and fail. Both can rest easy since the only other in-form opener in India at the moment, Ajinkya Rahane, who sizzled in the IPL, isn't even in the squad.

When quizzed on how long the team will cope with these non-performing assets, Kohli said: "I believe that in T20, if you play with a settled composition, the team benefits . If you change it and it doesn't work, it leaves a negative impact on the side, especially in the batting department.

"In the bowling department, you can experiment. A batting order is set. If the top three score well, then you can change the lower order, but changing the combo otherwise is not good.

"Besides, in T20 you don't need an 80-90 run opening stand. You need a start of 40-45 . Only one match has been played so far and the kind of openers we have, they are capable of giving us a good start at a brisk pace when they click."

Keywords: World Twenty20,Virender Sehwag ,Gautam Gambhir, world cricket, international cricket, left-arm pacer ,Shapoor Zadran, Ajinkya Rahane,cricket news,sports news