After thrashing Australia at home, Team India has reached New Zealand to take part in their first overseas tour of 2020. India will start the proceedings with a five-match T20I series, which begins on Friday (Jan 24).
Indian skipper Virat Kohli said that he’s looking forward to stick with KL Rahul and revealed why the team management has decided to back Rahul despite him not being a specialist wicket-keeper.
In a press conference ahead of the first T20I in Auckland, Kohli said that Shikhar Dhawan’s injury would change few plans, but Rahul will play down the order in the ODIs, whereas in T20Is he will bat at the top.
“It will certainly alter a few plans for us. In the ODIs we’ll have to think of sticking to the same what we did in Rajkot, I think that would probably work best for us as a side, have another guy at the top and let KL just express himself at that position where he played really well.”
“In T20 cricket obviously the dynamics change a little bit more because we do have lower-order batsmen who have done well, so we have a few more options there in terms of solidifying that spot and probably letting KL bat at the top.”
The 31-year-old said Rahul had performed well with the gloves, and it also opens a window to play one extra batsman, so it gives the side more balance.
“As I said, him (Rahul) doing really well with the gloves has opened up a kind of scenario where it gives us a lot more balance in playing an extra batter, and this something that we are looking to continue for a while.”
Kohli also revealed that pushing Rahul forward as a wicket-keeper doesn’t mean that anything has been taken away from anyone.
“Nothing is taken away from anyone else, it just brings the best balance to the side, and I know there will be a lot of talks around what happens to other players and whatnot. For us, the most important thing is what the team requires and the best balance that we can create as a side.”
On being asked how Rahul has taken up the challenge, Kohli said that he’s a ‘team man’ and is open to any role in the playing XI.
“It’s amazing; he is open to any kind of role whatever the team wants. He’s a total team man, and you can tell the way he keeps as well. He’s always looking for an opportunity and looking to make a play, and he’s not nervous about it. ”
Kohli showered praiseworthy comments on Rahul’s wicket-keeping and said that he’s enjoying the new role pretty much.
“Just the collection of throws and getting to the stumps every ball, he’s just in the game and I this he relishes that much more than just being on the field. It’s showing he’s more involved in the game, and he is able to look at the field placements as well. I think it engages him into the game in the right manner, it’s wonderful to have a guy who can do both things well and bring balance to the side.”