Virat Kohli confirms India’s openers for first New Zealand ODI: India will field a debutant opening pair for the fourth time ever in ODIs.
India captain Virat Kohli wasn’t skeptical about India’s opening batsmen while addressing the media on the eve of the first ODI of the ongoing India’s tour of New Zealand in Hamilton.
Vice-captain Rohit Sharma getting ruled out of the tour had left India in search of an opening batsman. A safest ploy would have been to bring back wicket-keeper batsman Lokesh Rahul at the top of the order but Kohli has iterated against doing the same.
“No, we are looking to stick to that same plan [of Lokesh Rahul batting at No. 5]. It’s an unfortunate situation that Rohit [Sharma] can’t be a part of this series. In all formats, he’s on the list first and the impact he’s had is there for everyone to see,” Kohli was quoted as saying.
Virat Kohli confirms India’s openers for first New Zealand ODI
With opening batsman Prithvi Shaw already in the squad as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan, India have recalled Test opener Mayank Agarwal into the ODI squad. While the announcement was made after Kohli’s press conference, he had revealed that the team management have asked for a specialist opener.
“Prithvi [Shaw] is in the team and will definitely start and whoever the replacement is [Mayank Agarwal] – we’ve asked for an opener. KL [Rahul] will play in the middle-order, we want him to get used to that role at No. 5 and keep as well,” Kohli said.
Good luck to @PrithviShaw and @mayankcricket, as they look likely to open the innings Vs New Zealand tomorrow. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain the way I look at it. Every crisis is an opportunity. And don’t take the foot off. Good luck boys @BCCI #nzvind pic.twitter.com/3exU98g9Sz
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) February 4, 2020
It is worth mentioning that Agarwal is already in New Zealand playing the shadow tour for India A. Having become part of the ODI squad first during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Agarwal has been included into the ODI squad but it yet to make his debut.
The first ODI between New Zealand and India tomorrow will only be the fourth instance when India will play two debutant opening batsmen. The last time it happened was during India’s tour of Zimbabwe in 2016 when Rahul and Karun Nair had opened the batting for India in the first ODI.