With KL Rahul's lean patch continuing, skipper Virat Kohli promoted himself to open the innings alongside his deputy, Rohit Sharma, in the fifth and final T20I against England on Sunday. The duo played a fiery innings, instrumental in India's victory, inviting speculations over Kohli's new role in the team with the T20 World Cup in hindsight. While Virat Kohli has confirmed that he will continue to open, including for the RCB in the IPL, Rohit Sharma has said that the skipper's promotion does not mean that KL Rahul has been shunted out of the race.
Describing it as a 'tactical' move, Rohit Sharma said that KL Rahul continues to remain in contention for the opening spot ahead of the T20 World Cup, slated to be held later this year in October. However, the new opening combination which stormed English bowlers on Sunday has intrigued veterans of the game, with several suggesting that Kohli should continue to open the innings for Team India as well. Former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh also raised an eyebrow over the speculation if Rohit-Kohli would open the innings in the World Cup after the stellar show that the duo put on display in the series decider.
Congratulations boys ð®ð³ hard fought series with Eng I though both teams played some really quality cricket under pressure Specially india coming 2 to 1 down to win it 3 to 2 @imVkohli at his best with @ImRo45 is this our opening pair for the World Cup ? Top spell @BhuviOfficial— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) March 20, 2021
Sunil Gavaskar echoed similar views as opined that Kohli would need more time as an opener heading into the World Cup. VVS Laxman expressed that the batting performance from India might be the 'template for the T20 World Cup. With the addition of Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant to India's middle-order, the skipper could enjoy a bit of freedom at the top of the order. Even in India's phenomenal victory on Sunday, Rohit Sharma played the aggressor while Kohli enjoyed the role of the second fiddle and stood alive till the last ball, taking India's total well past 200.
“It was good for us to win the game with that batting order. Everything will depend on what the captain is thinking at that particular point in time. I am sure we need to sit and analyse and collect our thoughts on what would be the right thing for the team. If that means he has to open with me, so be it, if we feel that is right as a team we will go ahead with that,” Rohit Sharma said after the victory on Sunday.
During the T20I series against England, Virat Kohli had also expressed a change in the batting approach of the Men in Blue ahead of the World Cup. The Indian skipper pointed out that the batsmen would have a more 'fearless' approaching going into the World Cup and spoke of X-factors like Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, who recently earned their maiden India call-up.
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