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Nobody’s place in the team is guaranteed because of a strong bench strength, feels Virat Kohli

Kohli had earlier termed this selection dilemma as a "good headache" to have.

Ajinkya Rahane India
Indian cricketer Ajinkya Rahane plays football with captain Virat Kohli. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian skipper, Virat Kohli spoke about the immense bench strength that the current Indian team possesses, ahead of the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka. He warned his boys by saying that nobody they can afford to be complacent because no place in the team is guaranteed. India takes on Sri Lanka in the 1st match of the scheduled 5 ODI’s on Sunday.

They have been on the roll for quite some time now and much of this can be contributed to the rock-solid bench strength that the team possesses, where every player is raring to go and in wait of an opportunity. Kohli had earlier termed this selection dilemma as a “good headache” to have. He spoke about the same and urged all his teammates to work hard and perform to the best of their abilities.

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Talking about Rahane being the 3rd choice for the opening slot

Speaking about Ajinkya Rahane, the skipper commented, “I think in any format if there is desperation or urge to cement your place in the team, there is always going to be pressure on you. So what we try to do is tell players that just go out there and express themselves. It is a pecking order that you need to look at. Shikhar was not in the mix of things till a few months back but when he came back, you have seen what he can do.”

“So, Rahane understands that at this moment, he is the third opener and we will certainly back him there because we have shifted him around a bit in the middle order as well and it is not right. But he has grabbed his opportunities well as he was the man of the series in West Indies, so he continues to be in the set-up,” Kohli said.

Stressing on the healthy competition that exists for contention in the playing XI, Kohli elaborated on the KL Rahul-Manish Pandey quandary in the middle order.

“We feel that KL Rahul is a very solid player and before injury he had done well in all the three formats. It is unfortunate that he missed out and then Manish got chances. Look KL will definitely be playing in the middle order. We are not going to have a predictable or a set pattern anymore in what we want to do in terms of Tests, ODIs and T20 cricket,” he added.

“Anyone could go anywhere — that is what we are looking to do. Someone like Manish, he has done well and grabbed his opportunities. He has got a ton in Australia as well. We know about his talents and what he brings onto the field as well. He is a super-fit guy and has a bright future ahead of him and he will certainly be back. So, these guys will have to compete for a spot in the middle-order. There is no guarantees for anyone. As long as there is healthy competition, it will only benefit the team,” Kohli concluded.

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