Kohli as opener was a tactical move: Rohit

Early days yet to talk about World Cup line-up, says vice-captain

After finding success as opener in the final T20I here on Saturday, India captain Virat Kohli stated he was keen to have a longer run at the top of the order.

At a media interaction, Kohli’s partner Rohit Sharma took a more measured stance, explaining that the batting order was open to change.

Both Kohli and Rohit mentioned that India could play a few more T20Is before the ICC T20 World Cup begins in October. As per the current schedule, the recent five-match series against England is the last T20Is India play before the marquee event. Excerpts:

Opening with Kohli: There is still a long time to go for the World Cup. It’s early days to talk about what the batting line-up will be.

We have to think about what suits the team. Today, it (Kohli opening) was a tactical move to fit in the extra bowler. Unfortunately, we had to leave K.L. Rahul out. There will be an IPL in between, and I hear there will be a few T20Is as well before the World Cup. There’s enough time to judge.

World Cup preparation: This series does not send any signals about our perfect eleven. There’s still a long way to go for the World Cup. We need to see the form of the players, and take a call on the ideal eleven based on the opposition and conditions.

On Shardul Thakur and Ishan Kishan: Shardul is a wicket-taking bowler. In the last two matches, he bowled to high quality batsmen, and reacted to pressure very well. He went for some runs, but as long as bowlers give us crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs, that is all we ask for.

The change I’ve noticed in Ishan is that he understands the game a lot better now. He captains Jharkhand in limited-overs tournaments, so that helps him read the game better. Guys like Ishan and Suryakumar have to be given the freedom to express themselves.

On Bhuvneshwar Kumar: In this line-up, Bhuvneshwar is our leading bowler. We place responsibility on him during crucial overs, and he has accepted it pretty well. I hope he stays fit and in form.

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