Virat Kohli on Thursday confirmed that KL Rahul will keep in the upcoming series. While speaking in a press conference in Auckland before the five-match T20I series against New Zealand, Kohli said Rahul’s dual role brings great balance to the team. He also gave a hint of Rishabh Pant’s exclusion. India will play five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests against New Zealand.
“In the one-dayers we will have to think of sticking to what we did in Rajkot [making KL Rahul bat in the middle order],” said Kohli. “I think that would work best for us as a side – have another guy at the top and let KL express himself in the middle order. In T20 cricket, the dynamics change a little more. We do have more lower order batsmen who have done well, we have more options for those spots, so KL can probably bat at the top.”
“Him [Rahul] doing really well with the gloves has opened up another scenario for us where it gives us a lot more balance in playing an extra batter,” added Kohli. “If he can ‘keep and bat that well then why not have an extra batsman in the playing XI. This is something we are looking to continue with for a while.”
Virat Kohli also praised Rahul for his recent performance as he is taking more responsibility alongside wicketkeeping. He refers to Rahul as a team man who doesn’t get nervous. Moreover, the captain said it is great to have someone who can do both things efficiently and bring balance to the team.
The last time both the teams played each other was in the semi-final of the ICC World Cup in England last year where New Zealand registered a convincing win. However, the captain said it will be difficult to beat the Kiwis in their own backyard.