‘We are looking to continue with it for a while’ – Virat Kohli hints at playing KL Rahul as wicketkeeper in T20I series
India is set to lock horns against New Zealand in the first T20I on Friday.
Updated - Jan 23, 2020 1:20 pm
It has been a quick turnaround for team India after the Australia series as they have reached New Zealand and are set to play the first of the five-match T20I series on Friday. India ended their home season with a 2-1 series win over Australia in the ODIs and will be hoping to continue with the winning the momentum against the Kiwis as well. More than the series win, KL Rahul excelling behind the stumps in Rishabh Pant’s absence was the big positive for India.
And ahead of the series opener in Auckland, the captain Virat Kohli has dropped a hint of continuing with the experiment in the near future. With Pant suffering from concussion, KL Rahul had to take the gloves in the first ODI and then played as a wicketkeeper in the rest of the series as well. Rather he did well in the dual role scoring 80 off 52 balls batting at five in Rajkot and then affected an impressive stumping to send back Aaron Finch as well.
Moreover, he switched roles again and opened the innings in the third and final ODI after keeping the wickets for 50 overs. KL Rahul doing well behind the stumps has opened up an option to play an extra batsman for team India and Virat Kohli seems to be happy with it.
I know there will be talks around
“KL Rahul doing really well with the gloves has opened up another kind of scenario where it gives us a lot more balance in playing an extra batter. This is something that we are looking to continue for a while,” Virat Kohli said while speaking to the media ahead of the first T20I against New Zealand. However, this leaves Rishabh Pant at sea with no clarity over his role and future.
Not long ago, he was termed as India’s number 1 wicketkeeper across all formats. Since then, the southpaw has lost his place to Wriddhiman Saha in Tests and now to Rahul in the limited-overs formats. The move has also been questioned by a few former cricketers. But Virat Kohli has cleared that they will take the decision in the best interest of the team.
“I know there will be talks around what happens to other players and what not. For us, the most important thing is what the team requires and the best balance we can create as a side,” Kohli further added. As of now, if the Indian skipper’s statement in the press conference is to go by, Pant looks set to be benched at least to start with in the five-match series while Rahul will don the gloves.