Vikram Rathour: Don't think Virat Kohli is going through a lean phase

India batting coach Rathour says the team has started preparing for the T20 World Cup in Australia by playing at grounds offering big boundaries such as the Eden Gardens.

Lean patch: Former captain Virat Kohli had a poor ODI series, managing only 26 runs in three appearances.   -  PTI

India batting coach Vikram Rathour has confirmed that the side has already started preparing for the T20 World Cup in Australia. Playing at colossal grounds offering long boundaries is one step of the rehearsal, followed by fine-tuning of the all-rounders.

The T20I series against two-time champion West Indies starting on Wednesday in Kolkata at the Eden Gardens is a solid platform to push the limits.

"The focus is on the T20 World Cup in Australia. Unfortunately, a few people are missing out now due to injuries. Till everyone is available, it is difficult to identify roles. But we have started our preparations. And with the kind of batting depth we have, it should not be an issue. All our batters are capable of doing well in those conditions.

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"The closest we can make it to the real ground is better. That's why we also want bigger boundaries to test ourselves," Rathour told reporters on Monday.

Former captain Virat Kohli had a poor ODI series, managing only 26 runs in three appearances. But Rathour feels there is nothing wrong with the superstar batter. "There has been no specific conversation with Virat. I don't think he is going through a lean phase, at least in the white-ball format where he has done well in the past. I understand he had a relatively poor series with the West Indies so far. But he is batting well at the nets, and we are happy with the preparations he is putting in. I am certain he will score big runs," he said.

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All-rounders galore

At one stage, India had to be satisfied with Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar as all-rounders. But this time around, the department is filled with utility players such as Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Hooda and Venkatesh Iyer. 

Seam-bowling all-rounders Shardul and Deepak have made the competition tougher with their batting prowess in recent times, and they could be useful in the T20 World Cup later this year. "Both of them are batting well. They work really hard, they have been practising for a few years, and now, we can see the results. Having two all-rounders gives us a team to play for. It is good to see the competition happening within the team."

Shardul (31 wickets in 24 games) and Deepak (23 wickets in 17 games) are also champion bowlers with a massive Indian Premier League experience behind them. Plus, Chahar has the best bowling figures (6/7) by an Indian in T20Is.

Though the selectors dropped Venkatesh for the ODI series, Rathour feels the youngster can turn the tide in T20Is and gradually earn his spot back in the ODIs. "Venkatesh is a good player, and we hope he will establish himself. I don't think we have seen the end of him."

Rathour felt confident about the middle-order since they anchored the innings after early jitters in the ODI series. "I have not been concerned with the middle-order in white-ball cricket. The ODI series in Ahmedabad had a tricky wicket, and it was good to see people stepping up and putting up decent scores. Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant have done well."

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