Kohli an option to open for India, but Rahul remains Rohit's first choice

By Sports Desk September 18, 2022

Rohit Sharma has confirmed KL Rahul is the first-choice opener for India ahead of the T20 World Cup, though former captain Virat Kohli is an option.

India face Australia, who host the upcoming World Cup as reigning champions, in a three-match T20I series starting on Tuesday.

With Rohit rested for India's final Asia Cup match, Kohli filled in at the top of the order and plundered an unbeaten 122 from 61 balls to help seal an emphatic 101-run win over Afghanistan.

Kohli's knock is the highest score by an Indian player in men's T20Is, overtaking Rohit's 118 against Sri Lanka in December 2017, while it also ended his 1,020-day wait for an international century.

Ahead of the first match in Mohali, Rohit told a press conference: "It's always nice to have options available to you. It is very important when you go in a tournament like a World Cup.

"You want the flexibility. We only talk about it, but this is actually what it means. You want your players to be in their best shape, batting in any position and so on.

"For us, when we try and do something new, it doesn't mean that is permanent. We understand the quality of all the players and what they bring to us. We do understand that, but it is an option for us. 

"We will keep that in mind that since we haven't taken a third opener, [Kohli] can obviously open. He opens for his franchise and has done really well. We saw that in the last match, and we are quite happy with what we saw. I don't think we will experiment for that position a lot."

Rahul struck 62 in India's win over Afghanistan, though he has not scored a century in the shortest format since 2018.

However, he remains Rohit's first pick.

"KL Rahul will play the World Cup, and open," Rohit affirmed. "His performances for India tend to go unnoticed. He is a very important player for India. If you look at his record over the last two, three years, it is very good.

"I don't think it is right to not consider one performance because someone else has performed. There is no confusion. We are very clear about what KL brings to us.

"He is a very, very important and quality player and a match-winner as well. His presence at the top is very, very crucial for us."

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