Kanpur: India captain Virat Kohli on Friday defended his decision to open the innings as he feels it gives the team more balance in absence of a seasoned opener like Rohit Sharma, while making it clear that young Lokesh Rahul needs to work on his consistency.
India has had problems with opening from the start of the limited overs series with Shikhar Dhawan failing and Lokesh Rahul having come a cropper till now. “I open in IPL and that is a T20 tournament. So I have an idea (of how to go about it) and that is why I went in to open. I did not go there to look special. Everyone anyway was expecting that. My opening gives more balance to the team,” Kohli said after India’s crushing defeat in the opening T20 International, here.
“You can have an extra batsman in the middle order, a player like Suresh Raina gets more dangerous at 3, so when Rohit is not around as an opener, I can anytime step up because it provides more balance,” he added.
Asked if he would reconsider his decision in the next game, the skipper replied:”It depends. If Rohit was in the side, there is no question that he would be then opening with Rahul. As I mentioned, it is more about providing balance to the side. I have no urge to open, I play at No 3, I can play anywhere according to what the management thinks.
“This is just a case of Rohit not being there and because I have opened in IPL so I have a fair idea of providing balance and it also gives someone else opportunity rather than me batting at three. You can’t ask someone to open if he has not done it in the past. It would be unfair on him,” he explained.
Kohli acknowledged that team wants more consistency from openers after another failure from Rahul today. “Obviously, it is one area we need to work on. All teams want their openers to fire. But you also need to understand that it is difficult to get (a lot of) openers of international standards and that is why you have to back the openers that you have for some time. We will continue to back them because they have performed in the past,” he said.
Like Kolkata, it was a wicket where England bowlers got more purchase compared to their Indian counterparts. However, Kohli is not complaining. “As soon as we won the One-day series, I was delighted to see the Kolkata pitch. It was more of preparation for Champions Trophy, so my head is already swinging on that side.
It is not about getting the conditions we want.
“Kolkata wicket was challenging, I started thinking on those lines of getting those sort of wickets. And what better practice than in an international match. It gives you an opportunity to test your skills.”