Kohli not only opened with Rohit Sharma in the fifth T20I against England in Ahmedabad on Saturday but the duo’s 94-run stand set up India’s 36-run win. After the match Kohli said he would like to partner Rohit at the top so that the best batsmen get to face as many balls as possible. Kohli, the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper, also revealed he would open the innings in the upcoming IPL.
Kohli’s move up the order assured Suryakumar Yadav his spot at No.3 and allowed India to fit in an extra bowler, while a player of Rahul’s calibre bides his time. With scores of 0, 0, 1 and 14 in the four T20Is in this series, Rahul has been a pale shadow of the self that scored 670 runs in IPL 2020 to win the Orange cap.
Rohit, however, didn’t want to read too much into the move, just another combination tried in the run-up to the World Cup as India look to cover all bases.
“It’s still a long time for the World Cup, so (it’s) early days to talk about what the batting line-up would be looking like. We have to think about what suits the team. Today was a tactical move because we wanted an extra bowler. We had to leave one batsman out, unfortunately it was KL, which was very tough,” said Rohit after India clinched the series 3-2.
Like Kohli before and batting coach Vikram Rathour after the third T20I, Rohit also sprang to Rahul’s defence and said his omission was not a signal of the team composition for the World Cup. “KL, we know he’s been one of our key players in the limited overs format. The team management decided to go with the best eleven for this match. But it doesn’t send any signal. I’m not going to rule out anything, neither would I say this is the preferred batting line-up for the World Cup. It’s still early days. There’s IPL in between.
“I’m hearing that there’ll be a few T20Is before the World Cup. So good enough time for us, at that point to judge what would be the best eleven for us,” said Rohit.
“We need to see the ideal eleven in certain conditions and certain opposition. Whatever we as a team feel is right, we will go ahead with that,” he added.