Indian captain Virat Kohli has put all the speculations to rest regarding the teams’ first-choice openers among Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Shikhar Dhawan in the shortest format of the game ahead of the five-match T20I series against England.
India will lock horns with the Eoin Morgan-led English team in a five-match T20I series at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, starting March 12.
Leading into the series, the big debate among Indian fans was around the choice of openers that the home side will play with given the fact that all three contenders in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and KL Rahul are a part of the squad.
In the past 12-14 months, India hasn’t really faced this conundrum as one of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan has been injured. Rohit and Rahul opened the innings during the five-match series in New Zealand last winter while it was Dhawan and Rahul who did the same against Australia when Rohit was injured.
Shikhar Dhawan had beefed up his case for the opening slot thanks to a stupendous IPL season last year but the southpaw failed to emulate those exploits in Australia.
KL Rahul has been India’s best T20I batsman for a while now and skipper Virat Kohli, on the eve of the series-opener, has confirmed that the Punjab Kings skipper will be opening the innings alongside Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be the reserve-keeper.
“If Rohit plays, it’s simple. KL 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,” said Virat Kohli during the virtual press-conference.
KL Rahul, who has scored 663 runs in 17 innings at an average of 44.2.and a strike-rate of 139.58 since July 2019, has opened the innings alongside Rohit Sharma on 11 occasions and the duo have racked up 558 runs at an average of 50.73 with two 50 and one hundred-run stand.