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“KL Rahul is going to bat at five and keep” - Virat Kohli

Team India skipper Virat Kohli. Pic: BCCI
Team India skipper Virat Kohli. Pic: BCCI
Modified 23 Mar 2021

Team India captain Virat Kohli has put an end to speculation over whether or not KL Rahul will feature in the first ODI against England.

Speaking after losing the toss and being asked to bat, Virat Kohli confirmed:

“KL's (KL Rahul) going to bat at five and keep, the top four will be Rohit, Shikhar, Shreyas and I.”

The move means India have decided to drop Rishabh Pant, who had been in exceptional form in Test matches and did reasonably well in the T20Is as well.

Keeping wickets is nothing new for KL Rahul. He took the gloves in Australia as well when Pant was not in the scheme of things for India in the limited-overs formats.

Asked about having to bat first, Virat Kohli replied that he was not disappointed at all. He revealed:

“Very happy to be honest (to be batting first). Slightly different plans for us, the outfield is very soft so we wanted to put the opposition on the field first.”

Virat Kohli pointed out that his side have won while batting first in the last two T20Is and would take confidence from the same going into the first ODI.

“We have defended well in the T20 series twice, so we can look forward to carry that confidence. (Memories of chasing down 351 in Pune) It's surreal how time passes by, Kedar (Jadhav) played that blinder, he had played only 2-3 games before that. The atmosphere was electric then, slightly different now with no crowd.”

We want to set the intensity from the first match onwards: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli admitted that the Indian team will have to be at their very best from the start and cannot afford to relax. He said:

“We'll have to be at the best of our skills. If we really believe ourselves to be a top side in the world, we should be able to do anything - either we decide to do or the opposition asks us to do. We want to set the intensity from the first match onwards.”

On his decision of bowl first, England captain Eoin Morgan stated that the wicket was a good one but there was a bit more grass than expected. He said:

“Looks a good wicket, a bit more grass than we expected. It's a good challenge we are looking forward to. (With an eye on the World Cups), for the last year, we have been giving opportunities to guys to stake their claim. ”

England have included Sam Billings, Tom Curran and Moeen Ali in their playing XI.

Published 23 Mar 2021, 13:41 IST
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