Virat Kohli, in the pre-match press-conference, quashed all rumours stating that there is no doubt over the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the 50-over format. Regarding him opening in T20Is, Kohli stated that it was a tactical move to accommodate Suryakumar Yadav at No.3.
While the dynamics in the shortest format changed over the last few days, especially with Virat Kohli opening the innings alongside Rohit Sharma, questions over Shikhar Dhawan’s place have emerged out of nowhere. Ahead of the first ODI against England in Pune, Indian skipper Virat Kohli confirmed that India would walk with the same opening combination of Dhawan and Rohit, which has given them a lot of success in the last decade.
“Yes there are a couple of things that we have discussed, as far as the opening combination, Shikhar and Rohit will ultimately start as the openers. In ODI format, I don’t think there is any doubt, whatsoever. There are a few players who would get their chances in this series, so it would be an exciting series,” confirmed Kohli in the pre-series press conference.
The Indian skipper also stressed that the choice to drop KL Rahul in the final T20I was a tactical move, to accommodate an extra bowler. However, Kohli also stated that him opening in IPL would keep all the options open and could accommodate Suryakumar Yadav at No.3, a spot that he has excelled at.
“Firstly, the combination on the field is not the selector’s choice just like management doesn’t have any role in the squad selection. As Rohit mentioned, it was a tactical move but having said that, we did enjoy batting, especially having 20 overs,” he added.
“I’m going to open in the IPL to keep all options open, I will go back to understanding my role as an opener. It would provide an opportunity to open up the spot, to accommodate someone like Suryakumar Yadav. So we will have a conversation on this as the World T20 comes by and then we can take it on.”
With Ahmedabad and Chennai serving as the venues for the series thus far, a change in location - Pune would come as a breather to the Indian team. Kohli stated that there would be a lot of runs on offer, with the bowlers too being in the game with conditions helping them.
“It’s good to be here in Pune, there are a lot of runs on offer and bowlers too would be in the game with wickets. Probably looking forward to a good start as well in the series.”
While ODI does not hold of any significance to the Indian team, especially with them being the host for the 2023 World Cup, Kohli added that scheduling has become a huge term in the last year, especially in bio-bubbles, where cricketers have a lot of stress. He added that players have to be in constant contact with the management and vice-versa to keep them in a safe space.
“It’s a difficult one, scheduling is not in our control, every game is important and has its value. It is an opportunity to represent the team. Scheduling and workload is something that we have to look at, so you might have to look at all these things, especially in the bubble,” he added.
"So it’s not just the physical side of things but the mental side of things as well, player have to been talked to regularly. I don’t think it’s healthy for a cricketing system in the future, especially having so many games.”