Virat Kohli's current squad's "third opener": Rohit Sharmatext_fields
Mohali: Rohit Sharma said that Virat Kohli would be the third opener for India, hinting at the latter opening a few matches in the T20I series against Australia, IANS reported.
In the T20I World Cup in UAE, Ishan Kishan was posted as the backup opener, but he couldn't make the team this year. Opening against Afghanistan, Kohli had scored an unbeaten 122 off just 61 balls, including 12 boundaries and six sixes in the Super Four stage match of Asia Cup 2022.
Rohit Sharma said in a press conference, "I had a word with Rahul bhai (Dravid, head coach) that we might have to open with Virat in some matches as he's our third opener. We have seen that in the last match (against Afghanistan), and we are happy with what we saw of it. I don't think we are going to experiment a lot with that position."
In that match, with Sharma resting, Kohli was promoted to opening the batting alongside KL Rahul. The duo shared a rollicking opening stand of 119 off 76 balls, with Rahul making 65 of those runs. Kohli, on the other hand, went on to slam his first century in international cricket in nearly three years.
The skipper said, "It is always nice to have options available for you. It is very important going into a tournament like the World Cup that you want flexibility. We only talk about it, but this is what it actually means. You want the players to be in the best shape, batting at any position. Honestly, when we try and do something new, that does not mean that's a problem."
He added, "For us, we understand the quality of all our players and what they bring for us; we understand that. But, it is an option for us, and we will always keep that in mind. Since we have not taken a third opener, he opens for his franchise (in the IPL), and he has done really well, so it is a definite option for us."
"But KL Rahul will open the batting in the World Cup, his performance sometimes goes quite unnoticed. He is a very important player for Team India, and one must see his record for us in the last two-three years, which is very good. One or two bad games can't overshadow his past records, which isn't right," Rohit asserted.
"For us, I just want to make it clear for everyone, we are clear in our thought process. We do not have any confusion. We are very clear what KL brings to the table for us, he is a quality player and is very important for us as well as a match winner. His presence at the top is very, very crucial for us," he clarified.
After playing the first T20I against Australia on Tuesday in Mohali, India will play the second and third T20I in Nagpur and Hyderabad on September 23 and 25, respectively.