India vs England: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan to open in ODIs series, confirms Virat Kohli
India captain Virat Kohli confirmed that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will open in the One-Day International (ODI) series against England that is set to begin on Tuesday.
As openers, Rohit and Dhawan have scored over 5,000 runs each for Team India. Acknowledging their effort in the 50-over format, Kohli said that there is no doubt regarding India's opening pair in the ODIs.
"Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will definitely open. When it comes to ODI, there are no doubts about that. They've been amazing over the past few years," Kohli said in his pre-match virtual conference on Monday.
India and England recently played a five-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series, where the hosts experimented with four different opening combinations. In Rohit's absence in the first two games, Dhawan and KL Rahul opened for India in the opening T20I. When Dhawan was dropped for the second T20I, Rahul opened with debutant Ishan Kishan. In the third and fourth T20Is, Rahul partnered with Rohit.
After scoring 1, 0, 0, 14 in the first four games, the Karnataka batsman was dropped for the fifth T20I. In order to fit a sixth bowler for the series-decider game, Kohli promoted himself up the order and opened the innings with Rohit. The Indian skipper scored an unbeaten 80 off 52 balls and helped India to post 224 in 20 overs. The Indian side defended the total with almost ease as they won the game by 36 runs and sealed the series 3-2.
In a post-match interview, after India's win in the fifth T20I, Kohli hinted that India may persist with Rohit-Kohli's opening pair for the T20 World Cup that is due to take place later this year in India.
However, in the press conference on Monday, Kohli said that there is no guarantee if he would permanently open for India in the T20Is.
"It's not a guarantee that this is going to be considered in the future. To open up a slot for Surya (Suryakumar Yadav), who is playing the way he is, I can do anything to do that," Kohli explained, indicating that he moved to the top of the order to help Suryakumar Yadav, who made his debut in the recently concluded T20I series, bat higher up in the order.
The upcoming three ODIs between India and England will be played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. The first game will be held on Tuesday and the remaining two fixtures are scheduled to be played on March 26 and 28.