Virat Kohli led India has registered a historic 5-0 T20I series win against New Zealand away from home. India will now play a 3 match ODI series against the Kiwis. Rohit Sharma suffered an injury in the final T20 of the series. He will play no further part in the ongoing tour. Mayank Agarwal will replace Rohit Sharma in the ODI squad. Earlier, Prithvi Shaw replaced an injured Shikhar Dhawan in the previous ODI series.
Virat Kohli confirms the openers for the first ODI
Virat Kohli confirmed that KL Rahul will continue to bat at No 5 for the team. So Mayank Agarwal, along with Prithvi Shaw will open the innings for the Indian team at Seddon Park in Hamilton. KL Rahul is in an incredible run of form with the bat in the past few months. The Karnataka lad has a new duty in the team as a wicket-keeper. Earlier, the Indian team management already confirmed their idea to try Rahul at the middle order in ODI’s.
“We are looking to stick to the same plan. KL will bat in the middle-order. We want him to get accustomed to that role and keep as well.” Kohli said ahead of the 1st ODI. “We understand it’s an unfortunate situation that Rohit can’t be a part of this series. When you talk about one-day cricket and T20 cricket and Test cricket now, he’s one guy who’s always on the list first. The impact he’s had is there for everyone to see. But the thing is that we don’t have any one-day tournaments to look forward to. It’s, if, anything an ideal time for him to go away and rectify this as soon as he can and come back.” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference.
“He played the T20I series, so from the team’s balance point of view heading into the World Cup year, it doesn’t hamper the combination as far as the T20s are concerned. And in one-day cricket, whoever steps in for him. Prithvi’s going to start, and whomever the replacement – Agarwal – is, we’ll ask for an opener,” Kohli said.
“IPL not a preparation for the World Cup” – Kohli
According to Kohli, the New Zealand series is not the preparations for the T20 World Cup occurring later this year. He called the IPL as the most competitive T20 tournament and called it as the actual preparation for the World Cup.
“We have had five T20s already, it’s not that we don’t have a lot fo T20 cricket. We have IPL as well, which is going to be a month and a half of T20 cricket. So we will probably utilize that, I think because last year you did not have much opportunity to prepare yourselves apart from the games that were in front of you, but T20s are very different, as I said. IPL is probably the most competitive tournament you can ask for as a collective, and guys will look to get into that frame of mind in that tournament and not this early in a 50-over format because you don’t want to play differently.”
“You have to respect the format, you have to play according to the pace of the 50-over game and as I spoke of the combination as well, someone like Rahul playing in the middle order, it’s about guys getting settled in their roles and repeating that game after game so that they know I played this in this format, I have to play this in T20s or similarly in Test cricket. These things are all about creating good habits for different formats and then being able to switch between them. So no, we are not looking at this series as preparation for T20 World Cup. IPL is going to be the right platform for that,” Kohli concluded.
“Fielding an important part of the team”- Kohli
The Indian captain also claimed fielding to be an important part of the team’s preparation. He believes fielding is equally important as batting and bowling.
“We certainly expect a bunch of young guys who are good fielders to do the job collectively, not just focus on batting or bowling. It’s about taking all three skills seriously and committing to all three completely,” Kohli concluded.