On the eve of the first ODI against England, India skipper Virat Kohli said he is willing to play any kind of role to open up a slot for someone like Suryakumar Yadav, who impressed one and all with his brilliance in the T20I series.
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India defeated England by 36 runs in the fifth T20I at Ahmedabad on Saturday (March 20) and thereby clinched the series 3-2.
The hosts now will take on England in three ODIs, starting Tuesday (March 23) in Pune.
While Kohli confirmed that Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will be the openers in the first ODI against England, he didn’t rule out the possibility of him batting at the top in future in the white-ball formats.
“Firstly, the combination that plays on the field, the selectors do not have any role in that just like the management does not have any role in who gets selected. Secondly, as Rohit mentioned it was a strategic move, but we did enjoy batting together in the last T20I. We did enjoy our partnership and we saw the effects of us batting together and knowing what we can do to the opposition if we bat throughout. It is not a guarantee that it is going to be continued in the future,” Virat said during a virtual press conference, as quoted by ANI.
“I am going to open in the IPL to keep all options open. I have batted at three, four and now I need to understand my role as an opener which I have done successfully in the past in T20 cricket so that I provide an option to open up a slot for someone like Surya, if he can continue to bat like that, I should be open to playing any kind of role that the team requires me to. We will have a conversation about this when we get closer to the T20 World Cup. It would be interesting to see how I go about my job as an opener in the IPL,” he added.
When asked whether ODIs hold no importance in the year when T20 World Cup is going to be played, Kohli said: “Look, it is a difficult one. Scheduling is something that is not in our control. For us, in international games, every game is important and every game has value. It is an opportunity to represent your team and for us, that remains the sole focus. Yes, along the way as I have said in the past, scheduling and workload are something everyone will be very aware of. In today’s day and age, you never know when restrictions are going to come in and even in the future, you might have to continue playing in bubbles.
“It is important to consider how much cricket you are playing, it is just not about the physical side of things, it is mental side as well. Players need to be spoken to and consulted with all around. Otherwise, it is going to be a case of whoever can last plays and if not, some other player replaces that person and I do not think it is healthy for cricket system and culture going forward,” he further remarked.
In the last two weeks, the COVID-19 cases have spiked in Pune, where the three ODIs will be staged between India and England.
Commenting on the same, the Indian captain said: “There have been cases outside the bubbles in all places we have played at. There are a lot of cases, in today’s time you have to be aware and particular about the precautions that you need to take and that is in our control. We are continuing to do that, we have been successful in two cities, we are sure that with our medical setup and how the bubble is created, we will have a successful leg in Pune and then carry it forward in the IPL also. The players understand how much is at stake, they have not felt unsafe in the hotels and bubbles.”
(With ANI inputs)