India vs England: Kohli opening does not send any signal that Rahul will not be considered in T20Is, says Rohit

India vs England: Kohli opening does not send any signal that Rahul will not be considered in T20Is, says Rohit
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India vs England: Kohli opening does not send any signal that Rahul will not be considered in T20Is, says Rohit

Highlights

India vs England: India's limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has made it clear that Virat Kohli opening the innings in the fifth Twenty20 International (T20) against England was a one-off decision and KL Rahul is still very much in the team's plans.

India vs England: India's limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has made it clear that Virat Kohli opening the innings in the fifth Twenty20 International (T20) against England was a one-off decision and KL Rahul is still very much in the team's plans.

In the fifth T20I, India chose to go with a sixth bowler and in the process, the team dropped the out-of-form Rahul, while Kohli had promoted himself to open with Rohit. The captain and his deputy posted 94 runs for the first wicket before Rohit got out in the ninth over to Ben Stokes. The Mumbai batsman scored 64 off 34, his 22nd half-century in the shortest format of the game for India.

Kohli went on to score an unbeaten 80 off 52 balls and with that knock, he surpassed New Zealand's Kane Williamson's record of most 50-plus scores as captain. Kohli now has 12 50-plus scores as India's captain, one more than his BlackCaps counterpart.

Overall, it was Kohli's 28th half-century in the T20Is, which helped India post 224 for 2 in 20 overs. In reply to that, the Indian bowling attack stepped up as Shardul Thakur (3 for 45) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 15) were stand-out performers as England fell short by 36 runs and India sealed the five-match series 3-2.

In an interview after India's series win over England, Rohit clarified that promoting Kohli to opening was just a "tactical move."

"Still early days to be talking about what the batting lineup will be looking like in the T20 World Cup. We have to analyse and think about what suits the team the most. Today was a tactical move because we wanted an extra bowler to play. We wanted to leave 1 batsman out and unfortunately, it was KL Rahul," Rohit told reporters after the game," said Rohit.

In the same interview, Rohit defended Rahul, saying the recent failures of the Karnataka batsman cannot rule him out of the contention for this year's T20 World Cup in India. Rahul's poor run recently saw him score 14, 0, 0, and 1 in the first four T20Is against England.

"He has been one of our key players in the limited-overs format, especially in this format. Looking at the current form the team management decided to play the best XI. But having said that, it doesn't send any signal that KL will not be considered this was just for one particular game.

Things might change as we got closer to the World Cup, we do understand his ability and contribution at the top and what he's done for us. I'm not going to rule out anything neither am I going to say that this is the preferred batting lineup for the World Cup," added India's vice-captain.

India and England are set to lock horns in a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series, starting from March 23. Rahul, who has been included in the 18-man squad, will be desperate to end his lean patch. All the three ODIs will be played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. Earlier on Sunday, the Indian team arrived in Pune by a Chartered Flight from Ahmedabad.

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