IND vs SA: 'Can’t Expect Newcomers To Play Role Of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli' - KL Rahul

Published - 17 Dec 2023, 12:12 AM | Updated - 17 Dec 2023, 12:23 AM

KL Rahul {PC: X}
KL Rahul {PC: X}

India National Cricket Team stand-in skipper KL Rahul has said that they cannot expect newcomers to replicate the roles of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the upcoming three-match ODI series.

India are currently on their tour to South Africa. The tour consists of a three-match T20I series, a three-match ODI series, and a two-match Test series. The T20I series has already series ended in a 1-1 draw as the first match was washed out due to rain.

Next, the teams are set to lock horns with each other in the ODI series which is set to commence on Sunday, December 17, at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, KL Rahul admitted that the ODI is the least priority format at the moment for the team. He said that they will not change the template, but can’t expect the newcomers to play like Kohli and Rohit.

“I don’t think a lot will change in terms of how we want to play ODIs but can’t expect a newcomer to go out and play the role of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played in the World Cup. It will be too soon and you have to give them time to adjust and there will be no pressure from my side,” said the skipper.

KL Rahul added that their main focus is on the T20 World Cup 2024 as well as Test cricket, which always remains the priority of Indian cricket. He further made it clear that they are fully focused on facing the strong South African side in the upcoming ODI series.

“I think it’s too early to look at the bigger picture as far as ODI cricket is concerned. The focus is on T20 World Cup which is around the corner and there isn’t a lot of cricket left in terms of the Indian team, so focus has shifted a little bit,” he admitted.

“Test cricket will always be an important format for our country and having said that we are here as Indian cricket team to compete in ODI series, against really good South Africa team and focus will be on what’s in front of us.”

The schedule is such that not every player can be available for every format – KL Rahul

Recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a couple of huge changes in the Indian ODI squad for the South Africa series.

The star middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer is set to take part only in the first match before being released from the side to take part in the inter-squad game to prepare for the important two-match Test series against the Proteas. Also, Deepak Chahar has withdrawn from the series due to a family medical emergency and Akash Deep has been named as his replacement.

Talking about Iyer’s being released, KL Rahul said that every player can’t be available for every format. He also talked about Rahul Dravid-led coaching staff not being with the ODI squad and instead focusing on the Test series.

“It does feel a bit strange. But that’s how the game is going. Schedule is such that not every player can be available for every format,” Rahul said when asked about Shreyas Iyer being released for Test match preparation after the first ODI.

“The coach (Rahul Dravid) has bigger responsibility and there is focus on Test series and it gives us an opportunity to take up extra responsibility try and play best cricket. Nothing changes for us. Guys who are all here are all deserving as far as call-up to the national team is concerned. I trust each of them as selectors have given them opportunities,” the stand-in skipper said.

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IND vs SA India National Cricket Team KL Rahul Rohit Sharma Shreyas Iyer South Africa national cricket team Virat Kohli