Shikhar, Rahul will start series for us: Virat Kohli


Guwahati (Assam) : Ahead of the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka, India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday clarified that Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul would open the batting for the Men in Blue.

“Rahul has done very well for himself. It is a good sign for the side that he is coming into his own. We are very happy that he is striking the ball so well. It can happen in sports that one guy gets injured and the other grabs his opportunity with both hands,” Kohli told reporters.

“Shikhar is an experienced player. There are 15 guys in the team and everyone understands that each of them cannot play all games. It is all about having beliefs. Both of them will start the series for us, but when Rohit comes back, it will get a bit difficult,” he added.

Rohit Sharma has been rested for the series against Sri Lanka and this will provide an opportunity to Dhawan to showcase his skills with the bat. In last year’s series against West Indies, the left-handed Dhawan was ruled out due to injury and in place of him, Rahul had got the opportunity.

Kohli also went on to say that 2019 was a great year for the side, apart from those 30 minutes in the semi-final clash against New Zealand in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

“Apart from those 30 minutes, it was a great year for Indian cricket. We are extremely proud of what we achieved last year. All we can do is to give our best. We will look to continue our success from last year. We want to keep the standards of our cricket high. The youngsters on the side need to play with a carefree spirit. We need to keep on grooming young players in the side,” said Kohli.

“I see a cultural shift in the last two-three years in Indian cricket. It is about playing for the side, not thinking about individual things. I have seen that happening in the last two-three years. We have started appreciating small efforts by players in the game. Once you focus on the team, the pressure goes away,” added he.

As the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup edges nearer, Kohli emphasised the need for playing as a collective unit and not depending on just two-three individuals for going away with a win.

“In the T20 format, we do not have a problem with picking players. IPL gives us the idea, as players perform day and day out there. It is about figuring out which player can fit in. These next a few series will be exciting as, to sum up how players react to pressure situations. Two-three guys cannot win you, ICC tournaments, it is about working as a unit,” Kohli said.

India and Sri Lanka will take on each other in the first T20I on Sunday, January 5. (ANI)