Will open in IPL to understand role as opener and open slot for someone like Surya, says Kohli

Virat Kohli says every game is important and every game has value. — AP
Virat Kohli says every game is important and every game has value. — AP

Pune - Skipper confirmed that Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will be opening the batting in the first ODI against England


Published: Mon 22 Mar 2021, 3:50 PM

Virat Kohli on Monday said that if Suryakumar Yadav continues to bat in the manner he is doing right now, then the Indian skipper would be willing to play any kind of role that the team needs him to.

On Saturday, India defeated England in the fifth T20I, and as a result, the hosts won the series 3-2. Now both teams will lock horns in a three-match ODI series, beginning Tuesday in Pune.

Skipper Kohli confirmed that Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will be opening the batting in the first ODI against England, but he did not rule out the possibility of him opening going ahead in the future in white-ball formats.

“Firstly, the combination that plays on the field, the selectors do not have any role in that just like the management does not have any role in who gets selected. Secondly, as Rohit mentioned it was a strategic move, but we did enjoy batting together in the last T20I. We did enjoy our partnership and we saw the effects of us batting together and knowing what we can do to the opposition if we bat throughout. It is not a guarantee that it is going to be continued in the future,” said Virat during a virtual press conference on Monday.

“I am going to open in the IPL to keep all options open. I have batted at three, four and now I need to understand my role as an opener which I have done successfully in the past in T20 cricket so that I provide an option to open up a slot for someone like Surya, if he can continue to bat like that, I should be open to playing any kind of role that the team requires me to. We will have a conversation about this when we get closer to the T20 World Cup. It would be interesting to see how I go about my job as an opener in the IPL,” he added.

When asked whether ODIs have come out of nowhere in the year where the side is preparing for the T20 World Cup, Kohli said: “Look, it is a difficult one. Scheduling is something that is not in our control. For us, in international games, every game is important and every game has value. It is an opportunity to represent your team and for us, that remains the sole focus. Yes, along the way as I have said in the past, scheduling and workload are something everyone will be very aware of. In today’s day and age, you never know when restrictions are going to come in and even in the future, you might have to continue playing in bubbles.

“It is important to consider how much cricket you are playing, it is just not about the physical side of things, it is mental side as well. Players need to be spoken to and consulted with all around. Otherwise, it is going to be a case of whoever can last plays and if not, some other player replaces that person and I do not think it is healthy for cricket system and culture going forward,” said Kohli.

When asked whether the team is sceptical of playing in Maharashtra where the Covid-19 cases continue to rise, Kohli said: “There have been cases outside the bubbles in all places we have played at. There are a lot of cases, in today’s time you have to be aware and particular about the precautions that you need to take and that is in our control. We are continuing to do that, we have been successful in two cities, we are sure that with our medical setup and how the bubble is created, we will have a successful leg in Pune and then carry it forward in the IPL also. The players understand how much is at stake, they have not felt unsafe in the hotels and bubbles.”

India’s ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), KL Rahul (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Md. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur.

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