MOHALI: The century of former Indian skipper Virat Kohli, as he opened the innings against Afghanistan in the Asian Cup, may have sparked speculation about his possible elevation as a forerunner in the next T20 World Cup. But for Rohit Sharma, Virat remains the third opening and it will be KL Rahul teaming up with him at the top of the order during the highlight event, starting October 16 in Australia.
For some time now, KL Rahul’s calm approach in the T20 format has attracted criticism, and Kohli’s return in form with his first international century in three years has only fueled the opening slot debate.
However, in an interaction with the media before the start of the three matches of the T20I series against Australia
here on Tuesday, Rohit said there was no confusion over the role of the right-footed Karnataka as he is a “very important player for India”.

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“I don’t think we will experiment. KL Rahul will surely be our forerunner. His performance for India has always gone unnoticed. One or two bad games don’t overshadow his past records. We know what KL brings to the table, his presence at the top of him is very crucial for us, “he said.
“I want to make it clear to everyone that we have absolute clarity on this and kya khichdi pak rahi hai we know very well. There is no confusion, “said the skipper. Rohit, however, did not rule out the possibility of Kohli being promoted to the opening role in some of India’s games before the T20 World Cup.
The Australian series will be followed by three games against South Africa on tour from 28 September to 4 October.
“I spoke to Rahul Dravid and we have decided that we may have to open with Virat in a few games. We saw it in the last game and we’re happy, “said Rohit.” It’s always nice to have options available to you, especially if you’re going to the tournament, you want that flexibility. For us it’s an option, and since we don’t have having taken the third advantage, he can obviously open ”.

Variety in bowling attack
Justifying the selection of star Ravichandran Ashwin over young leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi in the 15-member World Cup squad, Rohit said the team’s management opted for variety instead of fielding a one-dimensional attack.
Ashwin, who played the last two games of the Asian Cup, is back with a couple of scalps.
“We always wanted variety in our attack, we never wanted a one-dimensional attack. That’s why we have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who swings the ball forward and has so much quality, and (Jasprit) Bumrah can bowling at any stage of the game. Then the variations of Harshal (Patel) will come in handy in the middle stages, and then Hardik (Pandya) and Arshdeep (Singh), ”Rohit said.

“Then we have three spinners. Someone like leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal with good pace can smash opponents and then Axar Patel, a well-rounded option in Ravindra Jadeja’s absence which is a big miss for us. For us it would always have been between Axar and Jadeja, again a three-phase bowler (he can throw in the powerplay, in the middle over and then in the 17th or 18th over). Ashwin with his new variants will do well against right-handed. Even his line can extend our line to number 9 ”, explained the skipper.
Rohit, however, deplored Mohammed Shami’s absence in the series against Australia after the expert pacer tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Shami is part of the reserves for the World Cup. Veteran Umesh Yadav, who last played a T20I in 2019, was drafted into the team in place of Shami, and Rohit believes Umesh was an easy choice considering his rich experience and ability to swing the ball in the powerplay.
“Guys like Umesh, Shami doesn’t need to play in a particular format to do it. They have proven themselves valid. It’s the quality. Young people need to prove themselves, but not them (seniors), “Rohit joked.



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