Ahmedabad: Virat Kohli on Thursday confirmed that Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will be the opening partner to start the upcoming five-match T20I series against England, which is scheduled to begin in Ahmedabad on Friday. All five T20Is of the series will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Rohit, Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are the three openers available in the squad for the series. “KL (Rahul) and Rohit (Sharma) have been consistent performers. Those two will start,” said the Indian cricket team captain at a virtual press conference on the eve of the T20I series, adding that Dhawan will be third-choice opener.
“If Rohit plays, it’s simple. KL [Rahul] and Rohit have been consistently performing at the top. If either of them take rest, Shikhar is the third opener. Rohit and Rahul will start,” Kohli said.
As per cricket buzz, spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who is also in the squad for the series, had failed fitness tests. Kohli said it is expected of players to match fitness standards set for the team.
“We would expect players to abide by the (standards) required for Team India,” Kohli said.
“Is the door closed for Ashwin in T20 cricket?”
Virat Kohli: pic.twitter.com/XjFCgNQuMc
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With the entry of newcomers like Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, Kohli feels that the team now has the batting depth for the players to express themselves freely.
“This time you will see guys a bit more free, a bit more expressive. We didn’t have enough depth in the batting before, but I see us being much more positive and free (in this series),” said Kohli.
This T20I series is reportedly also seen as a preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup, which will be hosted by India.
To not, England team is ranked No.1 on the T20I rankings and Kohli picked them as the favourites to win the title.
“They are the No. 1 side in the world. England will be favourites to win the T20 World Cup,” Kohli said.
Among the players making comeback to the squad is also Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who returned to the ground after an injury sustained during IPL 2020. Bhuvneshwar had last played for India in December 2019 but Kohli maintained that the senior bowler remains an integral part of the squad.
“He (Bhuvneshwar) wants to contribute to many more Indian victories. We are very glad to have him back. I hope he will build strongly from here,” Kohli said.
Date when you can watch India losing head with England on the grounds of Narendra Modi Stadium in Allahabad: