Kohli keeps Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul in contention: The Indian captain hinted at providing more chances to both the batsmen.
The first ODI against Australia to be played at Hyderabad tomorrow will mark the commencement of India’s last international assignment before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
While a large part of the squad has been finalized, India are yet to confirm a couple of spots. There is no hiding to the fact that the selectors and team management will be looking to solve the conundrum in the imminent five matches.
Among two names which are most likely to be observed throughout the series are wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant and opening batsman Lokesh Rahul.
Chiefly considered as a limited-over specialist, Pant seems to advocate for irony as the only format he has excelled at the highest level is Test cricket. Before the world event, the ODI series will be Pant’s last chance to prove that his X-factor is redeemable when he takes the field in blue.
“Playing a bowler less is not a good idea”
An issue with giving chances to Pant is India have a wicket-keeper batsman in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Pant doesn’t bowl. Playing him in the middle-order takes away the sixth bowling option from India. Speaking during the pre-series press conference, India captain Virat Kohli hinted at giving more game-time to Pant but not at the cost of playing him in place of a bowler.
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“We will have to think about the combinations. I don’t think playing a bowler less is a good idea because with the extra fielder in till the 40th over, it becomes very difficult to sort of get a few guys to chip in with a few overs here and there.
“We will have to work out the batting combination to try and give game-time to the guys we want to. But, I don’t see the bowling combination changing,” Kohli was quoted as saying.
“KL Rahul has a solid game”
Talking of KL Rahul, him playing a couple of impressive knocks in the T20I series have brought back into recognition for the World Cup. Being wax lyrical about Rahul, Kohli mentioned that the opener operates at a different level when he plays well.
“It augurs really well. KL, when he plays well, is operating at a different level I feel. We have seen him do that in the IPL last year and in patches over the last season we played as a team.
“It’s very difficult to find a consistent player, who can play good cricketing shots and still win you games at a strike-rate of over 140 or 150. He has all the shots and has a solid game as well,” Kohli added.
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“Hopefully, Rahul can carry it forward”
Furthermore, Kohli hoped of Rahul carrying his form forward and sounded excited regarding the final World Cup squad. “It will be interesting to see what happens in the final World Cup squad. Definitely, he has made a strong case for himself. It’s good he’s in great nick and hopefully he can carry it forward,” Kohli further added.
Sounding serious, Kohli also ruled out the reports of India experimenting at the cost of not caring about the results. “We are playing to win the series or else I’ll leave the ball to hit the stumps.
“As I said earlier, if we want to see how a few guys play in a certain situation, we’ll play them again in that situation. It’s not like if a guy is not playing in a certain situation, he doesn’t have the ability,” he concluded.