Rohit: Still long way to go before we finalise our playing XI for T20 World Cup

The vice-captain of the Indian team said that Virat Kohli opening alongside him in the series decider against England was only a tactical move and nothing has been finalised yet.

Indian batsman Rohit Sharma greeted by India skipper Virat Kohli after scoring half century during fifth and final T20 cricket match between India and England, at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Saturday, March 20, 2021.   -  PTI

After finding success as an opener in the final T20I here on Saturday, India captain Virat Kohli stated that he is keen to have a longer run at the top of the order. In a media interaction, Kohli's partner Rohit
Sharma took a more measured stance, explaining that the batting order is open to change.

Both Kohli and Rohit mentioned that India could play a few more T20Is before the ICC T20 World Cup begins in October. As per the current schedule, the recent five-match series against England is the last T20Is that India play before the marquee event.

READ | Prithvi Shaw's comeback route via Vijay Hazare Trophy

Excerpts:

Opening with Kohli: There is still a long time to go for the World Cup. It’s early days to talk about what the batting line-up will be. We have to think about what suits the team. Today, it [Kohli opening] was tactical move to fit the extra bowler. Unfortunately, we had to leave K.L. Rahul out. There will be an IPL in between, and I’m hearing that there will be a few T20Is as well before the World Cup. There’s enough time to judge.

World Cup preparation: This series does not send any signals about our perfect eleven. There’s still a long way to go for the World Cup. We need to see the form of the players, and take a call on the ideal eleven based on the opposition and conditions.

READ | IPL 2021: India, England players allowed bubble to bubble transfer

On Shardul Thakur and Ishan Kishan: Shardul is a wicket-taking bowler. In the last two matches, he bowled to high quality batsmen, and reacted to the pressure very well. He went for some runs, but as long as bowlers gives us crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs, that is all we ask for. The change I’ve noticed in Ishan is that he understands the game a lot better now. He captains Jharkhand in limited overs tournaments, so that helps him read the game better. Guys like Ishan and Suryakumar have to be given the freedom to express themselves.

READ | Tendulkar and Sehwag, the yin and yang, at it again

On Bhuvneshwar Kumar: In this line up, Bhuvneshwar is our leading bowler. We place responsibility on him during crucial overs, and he has accepted it pretty well. I hope he stays fit and in form.